Matsuyama Makes Masters History

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Doug Ferguson

Hideki Matsuyama celebrates after becoming the first golfer from Japan to win the Masters.

Kennedy Jones, Staff writer

“Exciting golf” may sound like an oxymoron, but the 2021 PGA Masters Tournament proved to be a thrilling display of talent. This year, history was made as Hideki Matsuyama became Japan’s first man to win a major golf championship as he received the famous green jacket on Sunday. Matsuyama’s performance at the Masters was insane, as he came from behind to win it all.

Matsuyama ended the tournament in exciting fashion. The 29-year-old finished ten under par, one point ahead of the American runner-up. Matsuyama was then awarded the green jacket, and was finally able to breathe a sigh of relief.

“My nerves really didn’t start on the second nine. It was right from the start today and right to the very last putt. I was thinking about (my family) all the way round today and I’m really happy I played well for them. Hopefully I’ll be a pioneer and many other Japanese people will follow. I’m glad to be able to open the flood gates hopefully and many more will follow me,” Matsuyama said.

It wasn’t until the third round that Matsuyama catapulted into the lead after a long weather delay on Saturday. He shot a superb 65, putting him 11 under par, catapulting him to the top of the leaderboard and giving him a comfortable lead amongst the others. To stretch this lead, Matsuyama went eagle-birdie-birdie between the 15 and 17 holes. His steady composure and faraway play was unlike any other.

“I did play well today. My game plan was carried out, and hopefully tomorrow I can continue my good form,” Matsuyama told reporters after the third round.

In the fourth round, the weight of the world was on Matsuyama’s shoulders as fans watched history be made. Matsuyama was off to a shaky start after his lead shrunk to one stroke at the end of the first hole—this was thanks to Will Zalatoris, who scored two birdies. Nevertheless, Matsuyama was able to get into a rhythm and keep his lead at one stroke even in windy conditions that other players found detrimental.

“I had a really good warmup and I felt really good going to the first tee, until I stood on the first tee, and it hit me that I was in the last group of the Masters and then I was really nervous. But my plan today was to do my best for 18 holes,” said Matsuyama.

His plan was successful as Matsuyama sank his final putt on the hole 18 and celebrated his historic accomplishment as his family watched from home in Japan. Matsuyama was then awarded the green jacket by last year’s champion, Dustin Johnson. And, in traditional Japanese culture, Matsuyama’s caddy showed respect to the 18 hole by bowing after returning the flag on the green.