Cameron Smith receives rankings and Olympics boost

Darren WaltonAAP
Cameron Smith's hopes of qualifying for the Paris Games improved after a good Masters performance. (AP PHOTO)
Camera IconCameron Smith's hopes of qualifying for the Paris Games improved after a good Masters performance. (AP PHOTO) Credit: AP

Cameron Smith's latest Masters disappointment has come with a silver lining.

Smith's tie for sixth at Augusta National has shot the 2022 British Open champion up from 68th to 52nd in golf's world rankings, boosting his hopes of squeezing into Australia's Olympics team.

After narrowly missing a bronze-medal playoff in Tokyo three years ago, Smith has made no secret of his desire to tee it up at the Paris Games.

Trouble is, the one-time world No.2 doesn't earn rankings points playing on the LIV Golf tour and has plummeted down the standings since joining Greg Norman's Saudi-backed league 18 months ago.

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Only two Australians will make it to France for the men's event, and Smith is presently ranked behind world No.21 Jason Day and world No.32 Min Woo Lee.

After finishing tied 30th at the Masters with a fine Sunday 69, Day admitted to AAP that he regretted opting out of the 2016 Rio Games when he was world No.1 and very much wants in this year.

"If I'm in, I'll play for sure, yeah. I'm looking forward to it," the one-time major champion said.

"I think I made a bit of a mistake not going down to Rio, even though part of it was family-related. I kind of missed out on that, and I probably should have gone."

Lee is also eager to join his dual major-winning sister Minjee in Paris, leaving Smith in a tight spot.

He only has two more tournaments - next month's US PGA Championship and the US Open from June 13-16 - to accrue rankings points and try to climb above his Australian peers to qualify.

Cam Davis, up from 62nd to world No.57 after sharing 12th in Georgia, is also in the mix.

"I kind of knew that was going to happen," Smith said of his selection battle.

"So it's definitely been in the back of my mind. It's desperately a place that I want to get to and represent Australia.

"But I wouldn't even be able to tell you what I am in the world, or where I rank. It's been a long time since I've looked at those rankings.

"I know there's a little bit of work to be done. Yeah, we'll see what happens. I mean, I have to play well to get there.

"I know I have to play well."

The Olympics feature only 60-strong fields for both the men's and women's tournaments, offering a great opportunity for Australia's stars to medal.

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