Hideki Matsuyama Captures a Historic Win at the 2021 Masters

Robert S. Hays

On Sunday, Hideki Matsuyama won the 2021 Masters Match at the earth-renowned Augusta Countrywide Golfing Club in Georgia. His profitable rating was 10 beneath par for the week—one shot obvious of the rest of the industry. The decisive place for Matsuyama was Saturday’s 3rd round, when he shot a 7-underneath par 65 and vaulted from a tie for sixth spot to leading by four photographs. Sunday’s ultimate round analyzed the 29-calendar year-outdated Japanese player’s mettle, as he frequently saw that 4-shot direct tighten to just a single stroke. But he by no means misplaced the direct, and he handled some down-the-stretch adversity with the grace needed to shut out a gain in golf’s most legendary tournament. In the approach, he turned the first Asian-born man to gain the Masters in the tournament’s 85-calendar year background.

 

 

Each Masters makes memories, but some yrs are extra unforgettable than many others. Matsuyama’s triumph at Augusta must stand the exam of time as one particular of the tournament’s most exciting effects, both due to the fact of how Matsuyama performed and how he bought there. Here’s a nearer glimpse at his historic victory.

Matsuyama Was Thanks for a Get at Important Event

Matsuyama has been one particular of the best pro golfers in the entire world for a decade. He very first emerged onto the earth phase at the Masters Event in 2011: At just 19 several years old, he placed first among amateurs in the discipline. His a single-under par rating that 7 days was only superior for a tie for 27th all round, but in his Masters debut, Matsuyama demonstrated he experienced the talent to be a considerable participant for the upcoming technology. He received five moments on the PGA Tour between 2014 and 2017 and attained as large as No. 2 in the Official Entire world Golfing Ranking. He experienced a likelihood to be the finest golfer in the world.

Then Matsuyama’s development stalled. He didn’t win a tournament from 2018 to 2020, and he completed each individual of those people decades just outside the top 20 in the planet. Together the way, he had a handful of in close proximity to misses in significant tournaments. He led during the ultimate round of the 2017 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, but he cratered more than his very last nine holes and finished tied for fifth—a 12 months right after ending tied for fourth in the same occasion.

With his Masters earn this year, Matsuyama proved he’s not just a competent player—he’s able of successful significant championships, also.

hideki matsuyama
Hideki Matsuyama of Japan hits his tee shot on the third hole in the course of the ultimate round of the 2021 Masters Tournament. JUSTIN LANE/EPA-EFE / Shutterstock

He Had an Entire Place Behind Him

If you show up at enough massive tournaments in person, you are going to recognize a thing peculiar. The most important crowd of reporters and photographers often follows Tiger Woods. Next may be Phil Mickelson, or probably Jordan Spieth or Rory McIlroy. Soon after those superstars, the biggest throng is usually the just one next Matsuyama as he loops about his 18 holes.

Matsuyama attracts a big next on the program for the reason that he’s unbelievably well known in his indigenous Japan. His results has been a position of pride for Japan’s golfing fans and non-fans alike, and he has even become a thing like an ambassador for his household place: In 2017, he accompanied Japanese key minister Shinzo Abe for a round of golfing with President Donald Trump.

Matsuyama is now the country’s to start with main winner in the men’s sport. Two Japanese women of all ages experienced by now received majors: Hisako Higuchi at the 1977 LPGA Championship and Hinako Shibuno at the 2019 British Open up. Matsuyama’s win also caps a great two-week operate for Japan at Augusta Nationwide: 17-yr-old Tsubasa Kajitani won the Augusta National Women’s Newbie Championship the weekend before the Masters began.

hideki matsuyama
Hideki Matsuyama during the inexperienced jacket ceremony JUSTIN LANE/EPA-EFE

Matsuyama’s Win Busts Outdated Narratives About What It Will take to Acquire a Major

There are two outdated cliches about contending in major championships. Very first, there is the concept that majors are determined on the placing eco-friendly a lot more than any where else in other phrases, the vital to victory is to sink adequate icy putts to outlast the competition. Next, there’s a notion that majors arrive down to “finishing solid,” as if Sunday’s remaining round counts a lot more than other days.

Matsuyama’s victory flies in the face of each of those people tips. Matsuyama entered the 7 days 170th on the PGA Tour this year in strokes received although putting, an highly developed stat that steps how numerous strokes a participant gains or loses to the subject by how nicely he putts. He putted nicely at Augusta but didn’t just tear up the greens. Alternatively, he strike his tee and iron pictures very well and put himself in a placement where by he did not need to be a hero once he got close to the gap.

His acquire also was not owing to any excellent results in the final spherical. Matsuyama constructed his lead on Saturday and expended Sunday narrowly clinging to it. He came shut to shedding it for good when Xander Schauffele produced four birdies in a row from holes 12 to 15. On the final of these, Matsuyama hit a ball into the drinking water, giving Schauffele a probability to tie or consider the guide on the subsequent hole.

Instead, Schauffele produced a triple bogey on that hole. Matsuyama built a bogey himself but still obtained two photographs on Schauffele, and at some point gained by a shot in excess of 2nd-spot finisher Will Zalatoris. (Schauffele and Jordan Spieth tied for third, a few pictures powering Matsuyama. Spieth, much too, had manufactured a triple-bogey previously in the 7 days.)

And maybe that is the greatest lesson of all in Matsuyama’s win: He did not do it by remaining excellent. He did it by preventing the crucial faults many others could not.


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