How Hideki Matsuyama became Japan’s new national hero

How Hideki Matsuyama became Japan’s new national hero [ad_1]

By claiming a dramatic one-shot victory, Matsuyama became the primary Japanese man to win a golf main. One Japanese newspaper even printed a 72-hole graphic detailing each single shot performed by the golfer as Japan went Matsuyama made.

But it is not simply Matsuyama’s {golfing} prowess that has endeared him to the Japanese nation.

Matsuyama says he hopes his Augusta success will assist encourage the subsequent era of Japanese golfers.

Matsuyama walks off the 18th green after winning the Masters.Matsuyama walks off the 18th green after winning the Masters.

“It’s thrilling to think that there are a lot of youngsters in Japan watching today. Hopefully in five, 10 years, when they get a little older, hopefully some of them will be competing on the world stage,” Matsuyama stated throughout his press convention following his Masters victory.

“But I still have a lot of years left, so they are going to have to compete against me still. But I’m happy for them because hopefully they will be able to follow in my footsteps.”

Perhaps additionally unsurprisingly, since his victory in Georgia, the Japanese golfer has been “inundated” with advertising and marketing requests and media alternatives, in response to Matsuyama’s agent Bob Turner.

Making adjustments

After virtually 4 years with out a win, victory on golf’s largest stage was the proper return to kind for Matsuyama.

His blistering show on day three of the Masters stole the present as he raced into the lead, whereas on the ultimate day, Matsuyama held off Xander Schauffele’s late cost to assert that well-known Green Jacket.

Andy Yamanaka, who has recognized Matsuyama since he was a youngster, says he noticed a change within the golfer’s demeanor at Augusta which he suggests might have made the distinction between successful and shedding.

“This time at the Masters, we saw more smiles on the golf course, which is very unusual for [him],” Yamanaka advised CNN’s Selina Wang.

“When he plays on the golf courses, he doesn’t smile a lot, but this time we saw some smiles, and he looked very relaxed.”

Matsuyama talks with his caddie Shota Hayafuji on the second tee during the final round of the Masters.Matsuyama talks with his caddie Shota Hayafuji on the second tee during the final round of the Masters.

And when he holed the successful putt, there have been no extravagant celebrations. Matsuyama virtually casually eliminated his hat, shook arms with Schauffele and embraced his caddie.

That’s when the feelings appeared to kick in, earlier than the golfer raced off the 18th inexperienced to obtain the Green Jacket coveted by so many.

Having turned skilled eight years in the past, Matsuyama’s onerous work and dedication on the driving vary are qualities which have stood him in good stead, taking him to 13 skilled wins and second on the planet rankings in 2017.

Yamanaka believes that it’s not till not too long ago when he is began so as to add muscle to his body — thereby serving to so as to add extra distance to his sport — that has given him one other dimension.

“He was very skinny guy,” Yamanaka defined. “So, when he joined our national team, we had a training program. And so he spent a lot of time putting a lot of muscle on him by doing some exercises.

“Even after he turned skilled … he knew that to be higher a participant as an expert golfer, he must be constructed greater. And so, in addition to hitting loads of golf balls on the vary, I believe he spent loads of time in coaching, to place extra muscle on him.”

Matsuyama plays a shot from a bunker on the second hole during the final round of the Masters.Matsuyama performs a shot from a bunker on the second gap throughout the closing spherical of the Masters.

Impact back home

Matsuyama is no stranger to the Masters and to Augusta National.

Ten years ago, Matsuyama earned low-amateur honors at the tournament and the 19-year-old sat beside winner Charl Schwartzel in the Butler Cabin during the Green Jacket ceremony.

However, at that time, Matsuyama’s mind was distracted by events back home — the tournament took place about a month after the devastating 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit Japan.

Matsuyama himself was competing in Australia at the time of the earthquake, but when he returned to Tohoku Fukushi University he found his accommodation destroyed

Matsuyama with the trophy for the low amateur after the final round of the 2011 Masters.Matsuyama with the trophy for the low amateur after the final round of the 2011 Masters.

“Literally, hundreds of lives have been misplaced, and there are nonetheless lots of people lacking,” Matsuyama said in the post-Masters press conference in 2011. “Infrastructure continues to be within the restoration course of and loads of the inhabitants are compelled to reside in emergency aid locations.

“I am from the Tohoku region, and knowing such a hard situation back home, I am not sure if I should play at the Masters even at this very moment. Still, I have decided to play.”

He careworn his want to take up some volunteering upon his return and thru his consideration on the earthquake aid and place on the PGA Tour, Matsuyama helped shine a highlight on the problems again dwelling and became a extra outstanding determine to his compatriots.

Now Yamanaka is hoping Matsuyama’s new major-winning profile can assist widen golf’s attraction in Japan.

“We have 2,200 golf courses; we are known as the second largest golf country in the world. Next to America, next to the US. We have about 7.5 million golfers. Golf is a wonderful sport where any generation can enjoy and compete each other. So, I think his win has inspired not only golfers but also young people who don’t play golf, come into play golf, coming to the game.

Yasuhiko Abe, who coached golfer Hideki Matsuyama during his Tohoku Fukushi University years, holds special editions of newspapers featuring Matsuyama's Masters victory. Yasuhiko Abe, who coached golfer Hideki Matsuyama during his Tohoku Fukushi University years, holds special editions of newspapers featuring Matsuyama's Masters victory.

“The younger era individuals lately, they’ve so many choices, and each sport has to compete in opposition to different sports activities for younger era to come back into that sport, and golf is below the identical state of affairs. So we want a an increasing number of younger individuals to come back into our sport.”

Mark Broadie, Columbia Business School professor and author of ‘Every Shot Counts’ — a book which teaches played how to use statistics and golf analytics to transform their game, cites the influence Se Ri Pak’s 1998 US Women’s Open victory had on South Korean golf as a possible blueprint of the impact of Matsuyama’s Masters win in Japan.

“[Se Ri Pak’s 1998 US Women’s Open] win led to an enormous progress in golf in South Korea which now has 4 of the highest 10 and 39 of the highest 100 gamers within the Rolex World Rankings,” Broadie told CNN via email.

“My guess is that Hideki will turn into an icon and function mannequin in Japan and can encourage a era of youthful Japanese gamers (and sure past Japan).”

When Matsuyama secured victory at the Masters, emotions got the better of Tokyo Broadcasting System’s (TBS) commentators.

TBS announcer Wataru Ogasawara said: “Matsuyama gained the Masters!” before tearing up and saying: “Finally, lastly, Japanese has turn into the highest of the world!”

Co-commentator Tsuneyuki Nakajima burst into tears and could not speak following the win.

And with calls suggesting Matsuyama should light the Olympic Cauldron ahead of the delayed Summer Games, the golfer is set for a busy year with three more majors to contest as well as the Tokyo 2020 golf tournament.

That occasion can be staged on the Kasumigaseki Country Club, the place Matsuyama gained the Asian Amateur Championship in 2010.

“Matsuyama is aware of the golf course effectively and clearly he’ll be representing Japan on the Olympics, stated Yamanaka. “So he has a bigger chance, bigger advantage, And hopefully, he or another Japanese player with a gold medal … will be another great story for golf in Japan.”

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