11 fascinating facts about new Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama

From his Beatles blunder to his blood type to his link to this year's Olympic golf venue, come and get to know Japan's first male Major winner.

1/ Born in 1992 in Matsuyama (honestly!) - the capital city of Ehime - he shares a birthday (February 25) with George Harrison. And yet, at the 2014 Open Championship played at Royal Liverpool, Matsuyama caused astonishment by saying that he'd never heard of The Beatles.

2/ Matsuyama will be one of the star turns at this summer's delayed summer Olympics in Tokyo. Even better for the local hero, the tournament takes place at Kasumigaseki Country Club - the venue where he won the Asian Amateur Championship as an 18-year-old in 2010.

3) In 2017, Matsuyama played at Kasumigaseki CC with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and visiting US President Donald Trump. Footage of the round went viral when the Japanese PM fell into a bunker.

4) As well as being the first Japanese player to win the Masters, Matsuyama was also the first amateur golfer from his country to play at Augusta National. He finished tied 27th in that 2010 edition and won the award for Low Amateur.

5) His earliest Masters recollection? "My first Masters that I ever watched on TV was the 1997 Masters when Tiger won. I was five years old, so I didn't know much about golf, but he sure looked good in that red shirt and black pants. I mean, I can still see it. The one thing I remember about Tiger's play was how far he hit it and how the announcers were praising how far he could hit it."

6) In later years, Matsuyama said he didn't get much chance to watch the Masters live. He recalled: "In high school, we didn't have a TV. I was at a boarding school, so we didn't have a TV. I probably watched it on video more than anything else." Asked how he found out who won, Hideki replied: "I read the newspaper."

7) A survey in 2018 showed that Matsuyama was Japan's fifth-most popular active athlete, trailing tennis ace Kei Nishikori, baseball stars Ichiro Suzuki and Shohei Ohtani and ice skater Yuzuru Hanyu. That survey could look very different now.

8) The 29-year-old is blood type B which, as you can read in this surprising article from Matt Cooper, explains why he's considered to have the perfect temperament to excel as a golfer.

9) Before winning the Masters, Matsuyama had posted seven top 10s in Majors. They included finishing runner-up in the 2017 US Open at Erin Hills. His best previous performance at Augusta National was solo fifth in 2015.

10) This is Matsuyama's sixth PGA Tour win. His first came at the 2014 Memorial Tournament hosted by legend Jack Nicklaus, the man who just happens to have won more Masters Green Jackets than any other golfer in history.

11) Matsuyama hit a career high of 2nd in the Official World Golf Rankings in 2017 when he enjoyed a hot run which included his second place in the US Open, victory in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and tied fifth at the PGA Championship. He came into the 2021 Masters ranked 25th.

READ MORE: Hideki Matsuyama's Masters triumph: A most unlikely blood sport

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