Hideki Matsuyama: Can he follow up his career year with more Major success in 2022?

After adding the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP to his breakthrough Masters victory, we look at the Japanese star’s hope of landing more big titles next year.

It was always a huge burden for Hideki Matsuyama: could HE finally become the first Japanese male to win a Major title?

With that on his shoulders, there were times when it seemed all too much.

Not helped by inconsistent putting, Matsuyama had dropped to 20th in the world rankings at the end of 2020.

That still afforded him the tag of one of the world's best but it was a noticeable drop from 2016 and 2017 when he'd finished those years at 6th and 5th respectively.

But when Matsuyama's big moment came at the 2021 Masters, he played not like a man weighed down with expectation but one ready to fulfil his destiny.

So with one Major in the bag, can the 29-year-old use that as a launch pad for further success next year?

Here, Planet Sport looks at the venues for the 2022 Majors and Matsuyama's hopes of victory.

Hideki Matsuyama at The Masters

2021 - WINNER (69-71-65-73 = -10)

2020 - 13th (68-68-72-72 = -8)

2019 - 32nd (75-70-68-72 = -3)

2018 - 19th (73-71-72-69 = -3)

2017 - 11th (76-70-74-67 = -1)

2016 - 7th (71-72 -72-73 = Evs)

2015 - 5th (71-70-70-66 = -11)

2014 - MC (80-71 = +7)

2012 - 54th (71-74-72-80 = +9)

2011 - 27th (72-73-68-74 = -1)

It really shouldn't have come as a surprise that Matsuyama made Augusta National the scene of his memorable first Major victory.

He won the Silver Cup for Low Amateur on his tournament debut in 2011, again made the cut as an amateur in 2012 and had racked up five top 20s in his previous six Masters starts before winning in 2021.

That run included a fifth and a seventh.

On the stats, his Greens In Regulation numbers are solid but note that he's been in the top 10 for Scrambling in five of the last seven Masters. It's a big reason why he shoots such good numbers at Augusta National.

Back-to-back Masters wins are rare but there's every chance he'll be on the Sunday leaderboard at Augusta again in 2022.

Paddy Power have priced Matsuyama to win successive Masters at 22/1.

Hideki Matsuyama at the PGA Championship

2021 - Kiawah Island: 23rd (73-68-76-72 = +3)

2020 - Harding Park: 22nd (70-67-69-70 = -4)

2019 - Bethpage State Park: 16th (70-68-68-77 = +3)

2018 - Bellerive: 16th (68-69-73-66 = -4)

2017 - Quail Hollow: 5th (70-64-73-72 = -4)

2016 - Baltusrol: 4th (69-67-67-68 = -9)

2015 - Whistling Straits: 37th (70-70-71-74 = -3)

2014 - Valhalla: 36th (71-72-70-68 = -3)

2013 - Oak Hill: 19th (72-68-73-66 = -1)

Matsuyama has made the cut in all nine appearances at the PGA so it's the only Major in which he has a 100% record for playing the weekend.

Six of the nine are top 25s and they include back-to-back top fives in 2016 and 2017.

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In the latter at Quail Hollow, a second-round 64 put him into the halfway lead but the pressure proved too much on that occasion.

He's been in the top six after 54 holes in three of the last six editions and was fourth at halfway at Kiawah earlier this year before falling back.

The 2022 event takes place at Southern Hills in Tulsa, a venue last used in 2007.

Hideki Matsuyama at the US Open

2021 - Torrey Pines: 26th (69-76-74-68 = +3)

2020 - Winged Foot: 17th (71-69-70-78 = +8)

2019 - Pebble Beach: 21st (69-73-70-70 = -2)

2018 - Shinnecock Hills: 16th (75-70-79-66 = +10)

2017 - Erin Hills: 2nd (74-65-71-66 = -12)

2016 - Oakmont: MC (74-78 = +12)

2015 - Chambers Bay: 18th (70-71-72-70 = +3)

2014 - Pinehurst: 35th (69-71-74-74 = +8)

2013 - Merion: 10th (71-75-74-67 = +7)

Since opening his US Open career with a top 10 in 2013, Matsuyama has had plenty of good moments in this event.

In a tournament where scoring is tough and consistency hard to come by, he's finished tied 26th or better in each of the last five US Opens.

The highlight was a tied second place at Erin Hills in 2017 although that was four back from winner Brooks Koepka and only after he'd mate a late surge with a closing 66.

Matsuyama was also fourth after 54 holes at Winged Foot in 2020 but fell back to tied 17th after a Sunday 78.

In 2022, the tournament heads to The Country Club at Brookline in Massachusetts.

He hasn't played the course competitively but does have a fourth place in the 2018 Dell Technologies played in Massachusetts.

Hideki Matsuyama at the Open Championship

2019 - Royal Portrush: MC (71-74 = +3)

2018 - Carnoustie: MC (75-71 = +4)

2017 - Royal Birkdale: 14th (68-72-66-72 = -2)

2016 - Royal Troon: MC (72-78 = +8)

2015 - St Andrews: 18th (72-66-71-71 = -8)

2014 - Royal Liverpool: 39th (69-74-73-71 = -1)

2013 - Muirfield: 6th (71-73-72-70 = +2)

Matsuyama missed Royal St George's in 2021 due to COVID and lack of practice.

With no event in 2020 and missed cuts the previous two years, he hasn't been seen on the weekend at an Open since 2017.

While he's crashed out at halfway in three of his last four attempts, there's some good stuff in there too.

He was sixth on debut and had top 20s in 2015 and 2017.

With this year's event at St Andrews, it's encouraging that he posted tied 18th at the Home of Golf in 2015.

Matsuyama managed four rounds of par or better and was 10th at halfway after a 6-under 66 on Friday.

Conclusion

The venues for the 2022 Majors appear to suit Matsuyama.

He'll be defending at Augusta National, a strong US Open record suggests he can go well at Brookline while he should enjoy the tree-lined track at Southern Hills which stages the PGA.

While his Open record is patchy, a top 20 at St Andrews in 2015 suggests he'll have a better chance than usual on British soil.

Winning the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP while not happy with his game suggests there's plenty more to come from Matsuyama in 2022 so it makes sense to think he can be a factor in multiple Majors next year.

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And don't forget the other big events too. Matsuyama has already won two WGCs (2016 HSBC Champions and 2017 Bridgestone Invitational) and was runner-up in another, the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, earlier this summer.

READ MORE: Japanese golfing hero Hideki Matsuyama’s top five PGA Tour victories

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