Hideki Matsuyama has written his name into golf’s history books by becoming the first Asian player to don a Green Jacket and the only Japanese male to win a major after his stunning win at the 85th edition of The Masters on Sunday.
The 29-year-old’s 10 under par saw him win the first major of 2021 by one from rookie Will Zalatoris. Jordan Spieth and Xander Schauffele were tied for third at 7 under, and Jon Rahm and Marc Leishman tied for fifth at 6 under. England’s Justin Rose, who led on Thursday with a 65, finished seventh.
It’s a groundbreaking moment for the sport in golf-crazy Japan, especially ahead of the Olympics in Tokyo, where you’d expect Matsuyama to make an appearance given the weekend’s major win. The golf events at this year’s Olympics is scheduled for the Kasumigaseki Country Club, the place where Matsuyama won as an amateur to secure that first trip to Augusta National in 2011
“I’m really looking forward to the Olympic Games in Tokyo,” Matsuyama said. “If I am on the team, and maybe it looks like I will be, I’ll do my best to represent my country, and hopefully I’ll play well.”
“It’s thrilling to think that there are a lot of youngsters in Japan watching today,
“Hopefully in five, 10 years, when they get a little older, hopefully some of them will be competing on the world stage. But I still have a lot of years left, so they are going to have to compete against me still.”
“Up until now, we haven’t had a major champion in Japan, and maybe a lot of golfers or younger golfers, too, thought, well, maybe that’s an impossibility,
“But with me doing it, hopefully that will set an example for them that it is possible and that, if they set their mind to it, they can do it, too.”
Matsuyama moved from 25th to 14th in the world rankings, and, thanks to his newly acquired green jacket, will be welcomed back to Augusta National for Masters week for the rest of his life
“I think it’s really good for the game of golf globally,” Jordan Spieth said. “He’s a great young player who inevitably was going to win major championships, in my opinion.”