MWith the legendary green jacket over his body, Hideki Matsuyama threw his arms into the air and enjoyed the applause for his historic victory at the Augusta Masters Tournament. As the first Japanese in history, the 29-year-old won a major championship on Sunday. He said, somewhat shyly and with the help of an interpreter, before adding in English: “I am honored and delighted to win the outstanding Augusta National Award.”
Immediately after the last blow, he hugged the can in the 18th green of Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, USA, wiping his eyes several times on the way to the club. After a final 73rd round in the tough 72nd round, Matsuyama won a total of 278 strokes, ahead of American and Masters Will Zalatores (279) and compatriots Jordan Speth and Zander Scheufele (281 each).
As a commemorative trophy, Matsuyama received the legendary green winner’s jacket from his predecessor Dustin Johnson, and the additional trophy and prize money of approximately US $ 2 million. For the Japanese, this was the sixth success of the American Tour – a success that made him very lucky in his homeland. The last courses at the start of the week can be seen right there on Monday mornings. TBS commentator cried after the decisive blow.
“I hope to be a pioneer”
“Congratulations on this great achievement for you and your country,” tweeted Tiger Woods, a five-time Masters champion, who has yet to start his car accident. “This historic victory of themasters will affect the entire golf world.” One of Matsuyama’s first comments on CBS was, “I hope to be a pioneer that many other Japanese will follow. I hope I can open the gates.”
The 29-year-old kicked off the final day with a comfortable four-hit lead over the competition. After losing a stroke in his first hole, he quickly regained control of his nerves. But the bullets melted in the last holes. In the end, one hit for the newcomer to Masters Zalatores was enough for him. “I fought hard,” said Zlatores.
Matsuyama had already won the Amateur Masters title ten years ago. In 2011, the then 19-year-old Asia-Pacific champion finished 27th with a win by South African Charles Schwarzel. In golf-obsessed Japan, Matsuyama was a superstar even before the Masters triumph. In the lead up to the Tokyo Olympics, the admiration for the 29-year-old man in his homeland must move to new areas. Early in 2017, he caused a buzz in Japan with second place at the US Open at Irene Hills and climbing to second place in the world of golf.
Fans also cheered him at the Augusta National Golf Club. Unlike 2020, when the Masters’ Championship was postponed to November due to the Coronavirus crisis, a few thousand spectators were admitted again this year at the quiet facility – but much less than in pandemic-free times. In addition, mask requirements and distance rules apply, which, however, are not strictly adhered to, as can be seen in TV photos.
Many favorites leave Cut
German golf legend Bernard Langer failed after two rounds of cutting the $ 11.5 million Masters tournament in Georgia and retired early. The 63-year-old took off from Anhausen at Magnolia Lane for the 38th time this year, but his preparation was hampered by back problems and knee pain. Langer had set a record in 2020 when he was the oldest player in tournament history to qualify for the two rounds over the weekend.
Several of the nominees for last year’s winner and world number one Dustin Johnson from the United States missed the cut in the 85th edition of the esteemed Masters Tournament.