Hideki Matsuyama Profile
|Born||Feb 25, 1992|
|Birthplace||Matsuyama, Ehime, Japan|
Hideki Matsuyama became a hero in his homeland when winning the 2021 Masters.
Hideki Matsuyama is the cream of Japan's current crop of golfing professionals, scoring multiple PGA Tour wins as well as successes back home.
His victory in the 2021 Masters made him Japan's first male Major Champion and took his reputation back home and around the world into another league.
He turned professional in 2013 having ascended to the top of the World Amateur Golf Rankings the previous year.
Matsuyama was the first Japanese amateur to feature in The Masters, securing his place by winning the 2010 Asian Amateur Championship.
He was a highly-decorated amateur and upon turning professional, quickly became Japan's highest-ranked male player in the World Golf Rankings.
His father was a club professional who got him into the game at an early age and served as his first coach.
A few short months after turning pro, Matsuyama registered a top-10 finish at the US Open, which saw him soar up the rankings.
He has recorded top-10 finishes in each of the four Majors and, prior to his Augusta triumph, the closest he has come to joining the pantheon of winners was a tie for second at the 2017 US Open.
Matsuyama won his first Japan Golf Tour event as an amateur and by the end of his first year as a pro, he already had five titles to his name.
He won a playoff against Kevin Na to scoop the 2014 Memorial Tournament; his first win on the PGA Tour.
His trademark swing-pause makes him instantly recognizable in the tee box.
Matsuyama began his golf education early and may have had ambitions of turning professional even then. Unverified stories claim he transferred schools in the eighth grade to enjoy a better golfing environment.
After graduating from high school, Matsuyama attended Tohoku Fukushi University in Sendai, turning out for their golf team.
He claimed his first title at the 2010 Asian Amateur Championship, which propelled him to the 2011 Masters, where he would finish as the leading amateur and win the Silver Cup.
Matsuyama claimed back-to-back Japan Collegiate Championships while also winning the gold medal at the World University Games. He also defended his Asian Amateur Championship in 2011.
In November 2011, he won the Mitsui Sumitomo VISA Taiheiyo Masters, a professional event on the Japan Golf Tour. As he was an amateur, he was forced to forego the prize money.
Matsuyama turned professional in 2013 after playing in six Japan Golf Tour events in 2012, making the cut in each and recording a brace of second-placed finishes.
Matsuyama turned professional in April 2013 and proved that he belonged amongst the golfing elite almost immediately.
At his first event, the Token Homemate Cup, he split 10th place and in just his second start as a professional, he won the Tsuruya Open at Yamanohara Golf Club by a single stroke. He narrowly missed out on successive victories as he let a final-round lead slip at The Crowns.
At the 2013 US Open, Matsuyama shot a brilliant final round of 67 at the Merion Golf Club's East Course to force his way into a four-way tie for 10th place. That result allowed him to move into the top 50 of the rankings and he would keep climbing.
His ascent continued when he backed it up with a hugely impressive tied sixth place on his British Open debut at Muirfield. His tally of 2-over 286 matched Tiger Woods and put him five back from winner Phil Mickelson.
Matsuyama ended a six-year wait for a Japanese player to win on the PGA Tour when he eclipsed Kevin Na in a playoff to secure the 2014 Memorial Tournament in June. This made him the fourth Japanese player to record a PGA Tour win after Ryuji Imada, Shigeki Maruyama and Isao Aoki.
Matsuyama made the cut 20 times in 24 starts in his first full PGA Tour campaign in the 2013/14 season and ended the FedEx Cup series in 28th place, advancing all the way to the concluding Tour Championship.
He went winless in 2015 but did manage a career-best fifth place at The Masters. He also represented the International team in the Presidents Cup.
Matsuyama soared up the rankings in 2016 thanks to four professional wins, two in Japan (the Japan Open Golf Championship and the Mitsui Sumitomo Visa Taiheiyo Masters) and two on the PGA Tour (the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February and the WGC-HSBC Champions in October).
He also enjoyed two big performances in the majors that season, posting T7 in The Masters and T4 in the PGA Championship.
With his victory in 'Asia's Major', the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, Matsuyama became the first Asian player to win a World Golf Championship and rose to what was then the second-highest ranking ever for a Japanese player; sixth in the world.
Reaching world number two and the slump
In 2017, Matsuyama won a second World Golf Championship, this time at the Bridgestone Invitational. He also won the Waste Management Phoenix Open for a second time, once again coming out on top in a playoff.
Matsuyama stormed to a tied second-placed finish at the 2017 US Open with a final round of 66 that left him on 12-under for the tournament, four shots off winner Brooks Koepka.
He climbed to second in the official World Golf Rankings after the US Open. This remains the highest spot ever held by a Japanese male golfer.
After enjoying a breakthrough year in 2017, Matsuyama entered a slump of sorts, failing to win a title over the next three seasons. Despite this, he notched 16 top-10 finishes and earned more than $9million in prize money.
Green Jacket glory
Ahead of the 2021 Masters Matsuyama had failed to make a top 10 all year and he was not comfortable until "finding something" on the Augusta National range on Wednesday.
He then opened the week with rounds of 69-71 to sit three shots back of the lead before a third round 65 opened up a four shot lead that he only briefly looked like conceding on Sunday.
The victory was wildly celebrated back home in Japan, but he also explained that Covid regulations, with restricted Japanese media numbers at the event, had helped him all week - he has always been notably reticent when faced with attention. Now, he could not avoid it.
In October 2021, Matsuyama secured his seventh TOUR victory when he won the Zozo Championship by five strokes.
Matsuyama's personal life
Matsuyama inherited his passion for golf from his father, a former club professional, and has always taken the game very seriously.
While he was a student at Tohoku Fukushi University in Sendai, the city and campus were devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that caused the Fukushima disaster.
Fortunately for him, he was training in Australia at the time, but he returned to find his dorm room destroyed. He struggled to feed himself in the immediate aftermath but a few weeks later, he played in his first Masters as an amateur.
Matsuyama is very guarded when it comes to his family and kept his marriage and birth of his first child a secret from all but his closest friends. He married Charlotte in 2017 and the couple welcomed their first child that same year.
Golf fans in Japan are reportedly obsessed with their number one player and he has to travel incognito when in his homeland.
Matsuyama's net worth
According to the latest available data, Matsuyama's net worth is around $35million.
He is sponsored by Lexus, ANA, Oakley and Nomura Securities, while his equipment and attire are supplied by Srixon Golf.
By November 2020, he had earned more than $30million in prize money on the PGA Tour, making him by far Japan's top-earning professional in history.
Hideki Matsuyama News
- Oct 24, 2021
- Oct 25, 2021