The First Japanese Man to Win a Golf Major: Hideki Matsuyama Wins The Green Jacket and Makes History – GolfDashBlog


Hideki Matsuyama getting it done at Augusta

Hideki Matsuyama made history by becoming the first Japanese golfer to win a major. The 29-year –old had to overcome late drama and slip-ups to earn the Green Jacket. The Japanese went into the Augusta carrying the weight of a golf-obsessed country deprived of the win for a long time. Every shot he made at  Augusta National Golf Club had the ability to create history. There are moments when the weight seemed too much when Matsuyama almost surrendered a five-shot lead. 

He won the competition one stroke in front of Will Zalatoris, an American rookie who was his fiercest competitor. The Japanese began the final round 11 under par and a four-stroke lead ahead of four golfers – Americas Zalatoris and Xander Schauffele and England’s Justin Rose, and Australia’s Marc Lieshman. 

Matsuyama had to survive some of his own slip-ups late in the round and a fierce challenge down the back nine from Schauffele to claim the historic Green Jacket. Shauffele, who finished 7-under, carded four birdies in a row before ending the challenge with a triple-bogey on the par-3 16th. 

Speaking after his iconic win, Matsuyama revealed that he felt nervous from the beginning of the competition until the end. He also stated that the thought of his family is what kept him going. 

Hideki Matsuyama had to recover from an opening–hole bogey and birdies on the 2nd, 8th, and 9th. He extended his lead to six shots on the back nine. However, he left the door open for Schauffele after hitting the water with his sight on the green in two of his on the par-5 15th. After Shauffele made four straight birdies, Matsuyama’s lead was cut to two shots with three left to play. But, the Japanese was a beneficiary of the American’s nightmare on the 16th hole, which confirmed his victory. 

2021 Masters Champion - Hideki Matsuyama
The 2021 Masters Champion – Hideki Matsuyama

On the 18th, Matsuyama landed in the bunker but made his way to the green to grab two putts to claim his first win in his 10th appearance at Augusta. As he celebrated his victory, the new Masters champion revealed that he had never made it to the top 10 on the tour until the week before the tournament. He even claimed that he had no expectations going into the tournament. However, as he trained on Wednesday before the competition kicked off, his shots gave him some hope. Hideki is now as short as 26/1 to retain the Masters in next year’s renewal.

Matsuyama comes from Ehime Prefecture on the Shikoku island. He claimed that he was hopeful that his victory would open the way for other Japanese golfers to follow suit. Moreover, he was optimistic that children watching him on TV would inspire children to want to reach that stage in the future. 

Zalatoris, 24, was making his debut at Augusta, and he put in a brilliant performance. He was on a mission to repeat Fuzzy Zoeller’s achievement of 1979 by winning the Masters in his first time of asking. He really came close, but he birdied two out of his last four holes to card a final round of 70. That slip-up saw him lose an opportunity of playoffs with the Japanese by one stroke. 

Matsuyama received accolades from many golf stars, including five-time Masters winner Tiger Woods. The golf superstar took to Twitter to acknowledge the significance of Matsuyama’s win to his native country and the world of golf. He claimed that the victory would impact the global golf scene. 

Hideki being casual with the famed green jacket
Hideki being casual with the famed green jacket

The 2021 winner also received praise from Isao Aoki, the Chairman of the Japan Golf Tour and a longtime member of the PGA tour. The chairman extolled the golfer for his hard work and claimed that the victory was a dream-come-true for Japan’s golf fans. 

Aoki reiterated that all golf fans in Japan had waited for the Masters win for a long time. He also acknowledged that Matsuyama must have given everything to win, and he hoped that the golfer would continue doing exploits at the global golf scene. 

His victory makes him the second golfer from the Asian continent to win a men’s major. Y.E. Yang of South Korea was the first Asian after winning the PGA Championship in 2009. 

Matsuyama is a five-time winner of the PGA Tour and has also won the Japan Golf Tour eight times. He made his Masters’s debut ten years ago as an amateur. Two women from Japan have also won majors. Hisako Higuchi was victorious at the 1977 LPGA Championship, and Hinako Shibuno was the champion at the 2019 Women’s British Open. 

Matsuyama’s win completes a promising two-week period for Japanese golfers at the historic club. His compatriot Tsubasa Kajitani emerged victorious at the Augusta National Women’s Championship on April 3 at the same venue. 

Matsuyama’s next assignment will be to win gold for his country in the Tokyo Olympics. His experience from Augusta will give him the best experience to compete at the Olympics on home soil.              

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