Hideki Matsuyama’s Win for Golf
April 14, 2021
It was a huge win for his country. But it was also a momentous victory for golf.
At this year’s Masters, Hideki Matsuyama, thanks to rounds of 69-71-65-73, became the first Masters champion from Japan.
“I’m really happy,” Matsuyama said through an interpreter. “Hopefully I’ll be a pioneer with this win and many other Japanese will follow. I’m glad to be able to open the floodgates hopefully, and many more will follow me. It is thrilling so many youngsters in Japan are watching. Hopefully in five years they will be competing on a world stage. Hopefully youngsters who don’t play golf see this and think it’s cool. I am the first major champion and it is possible if they set their mind to it. Hopefully now others will be inspired for what happened here today and follow in my footsteps.”
The timing of Matsuyama’s win was impeccable. Only eight days prior, Japan celebrated the victory of 17-year-old Tsubasa Kajitani in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur. This summer, Japan will host the Olympic Games, where golf is expected to be among the most popular events.
As CBS analyst Nick Faldo mentioned, Matsuyama is now a rock star in his home country. But Matsuyama is more interested in the real effects his win may have.
“Up until now, we haven’t had a major champion in Japan, and maybe a lot of younger golfers thought, well, maybe that’s an impossibility,” Matsuyama said. “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.”
Back home, the win brought tears to Japanese media covering the event. The Prime Minister called it a “wonderful” moment for Japan.
Matsuyama’s win was broadcast live in Japan by the Toyko Broadcasting System (TBS), whose commentators Tommy Nakajima and Wataru Ogasawara could barely contain their emotion as he stroked home an eagle on the 18th hole of the final round to secure victory.
The veteran Japanese golfer Isao Aoki, who previously held Japan’s highest ever finish in a men’s major — runner-up at the 1980 US Open — also offered his congratulations.
“Your victory at the Masters – a first for Japan and Asia – is being celebrated not just by me, but by every golf fan in Japan,” Aoki said.
Five-time Masters champ Tiger Woods, who missed this year’s tournament due to injuries suffered during a crash in February, tweeted “Making Japan proud Hideki. Congratulations on such a huge accomplishment for you and your country. This historical The Masters win will impact the entire golf world.”
Jack Nicklaus, who beat out Aoki in 1980 and won the Masters a record six times, also sent congratulations.
“I want to send my heartfelt congratulations to Hideki Matsuyama for his Masters Tournament victory, and for being the first Japanese male golfer to win a major championship.I’m not only very happy and pleased for Hideki, but also the whole golfing world of Japan.”
Making Japan proud Hideki. Congratulations on such a huge accomplishment for you and your country. This historical @TheMasters win will impact the entire golf world.
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) April 11, 2021