On Sunday, Hideki Matsuyama won the 2021 Masters Tournament at the world-famous Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. His winning rating was 10 under the same level for the week—round free from the remainder of the area. The definitive factor for Matsuyama was Saturday’s 3rd round, when he fired a seven-under the same level 65 and also risen from a connection for 6th area to leading by 4 shots. Sunday’s last round examined the 29-year-old Japanese gamer’s guts, as he repetitively saw that four-shot lead tighten up to simply a solitary stroke. But he never ever shed the lead, and also he dealt with some down-the-stretch hardship with the elegance needed to liquidate a win in golf’s most legendary event. In the procedure, he came to be the initial Asian-birthed guy to win the Masters in the event’s 85-year background.



Every Masters develops memories, yet some years are extra remarkable than others. Matsuyama’s accomplishment at Augusta needs to stand the examination of time as one of the event’s most interesting outcomes, both as a result of just how Matsuyama played and also just how he arrived. Here’s a better consider his historical triumph.

Matsuyama Was Due for a Win at Major Tournament

Matsuyama has actually been just one of the very best professional golf players on the planet for a years. He initially arised onto the globe phase at the Masters Tournament in 2011: At simply 19 years of ages, he positioned initially amongst beginners in the area. His one-under par rating that week was just helpful for a connection for 27th general, yet in his Masters launching, Matsuyama showed he had the ability to be a substantial gamer for the future generation. He won 5 times on the PGA Tour in between 2014 and also 2017 and also got to as high as No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. He had an opportunity to be the very best golf player on the planet.

Then Matsuyama’s progression delayed. He didn’t win a competition from 2018 to 2020, and also he completed each of those years simply outside the leading 20 on the planet. Along the means, he had a handful of close to misses out on in significant events. He led throughout the last round of the 2017 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, yet he cratered over his last 9 openings and also completed linked for 5th—a year after completing linked for 4th in the very same occasion.

With his Masters win this year, Matsuyama verified he’s not simply a proficient gamer—he’s capable of winning significant champions, also.

Hideki Matsuyama of Japan strikes his tee shot on the 3rd opening throughout the last round of the 2021 Masters Tournament. JUSTIN LANE/EPA-EFE / Shutterstock

He Had an Entire Country Behind Him

If you participate in sufficient large events personally, you’ll observe something strange. The largest group of press reporters and also professional photographers constantly adheres to Tiger Woods. Next could be Phil Mickelson, or perhaps Jordan Spieth or Rory McIlroy. After those super stars, the biggest crowd is usually the one complying with Matsuyama as he loopholes around his 18 openings.

Matsuyama attracts a big complying with on the program due to the fact that he’s exceptionally preferred in his indigenous Japan. His success has actually been a factor of satisfaction for Japan’s golf followers and also non-fans alike, and also he has actually also ended up being something like an ambassador for his house nation: In 2017, he went along with Japanese head of state Shinzo Abe for a round of golf with President Donald Trump.

Matsuyama is currently the nation’s initial significant victor in the guys’s video game. Two Japanese females had actually currently won majors: Hisako Higuchi at the 1977 LPGA Championship and also Hinako Shibuno at the 2019 British Open. Matsuyama’s win likewise caps an incredible two-week run for Japan at Augusta National: 17-year-old Tsubasa Kajitani won the Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship the weekend break prior to the Masters started.

hideki matsuyama
Hideki Matsuyama throughout the environment-friendly coat event JUSTIN LANE/EPA-EFE

Matsuyama’s Win Busts Old Narratives About What It Takes to Win a Major

There are 2 old sayings regarding competing in significant champions. First, there’s the concept that majors are selected the placing environment-friendly greater than anywhere else; to put it simply, the secret to triumph is to sink adequate icy putts to outlive the competitors. Second, there’s a concept that majors boil down to “finishing strong,” as if Sunday’s last round counts greater than various other days.

Matsuyama’s triumph contradicts both of those suggestions. Matsuyama went into the week 170th on the PGA Tour this year in strokes gained while putting, an innovative stat that determines the amount of strokes a gamer gains or sheds to the area by just how well he putts. He putted well at Augusta yet didn’t precisely destroy the environment-friendlies. Instead, he struck his tee and also iron shots well and also placed himself in a placement where he didn’t require to be a hero as soon as he obtained near to the opening.

His win likewise wasn’t as a result of any type of exceptional success in the last round. Matsuyama constructed his lead on Saturday and also invested Sunday directly holding on to it. He resembled shedding it completely when Xander Schauffele made 4 birdies straight from openings 12 to 15. On the last of those, Matsuyama struck a round right into the water, providing Schauffele an opportunity to connect or take the lead on the following opening.

Instead, Schauffele made a three-way bogey on that particular opening. Matsuyama made a bogey himself yet still got 2 shots on Schauffele, and also at some point won by a shot over second-place finisher Will Zalatoris. (Schauffele and also Jordan Spieth linked for 3rd, 3 shots behind Matsuyama. Spieth, also, had actually made a triple-bogey earlier in the week.)

And perhaps that’s the best lesson of done in Matsuyama’s win: He didn’t do it by being ideal. He did it by staying clear of the critical blunders others couldn’t.

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