AUGUST, GA. (AP) – In some of the bigger golf tournaments, the question has become inevitable, whether it be for Spor Spiet or Tiger Woods. And it had nothing to do with them.
Japanese Aponian journalists, silently experimenting with English words, wanted to know what the best players thought of Hideki Matsuyama.
This was not about ratification. Everyone knew he could play.
Matsuyama was still in college when she won her first professional event. He made the cut as a 19-year-old amateur in the Masters. He won the Japan Golf Tour monetary title as a newcomer. When he played in the Presidential Cup at the age of 21, he had more victories that year than any member of his team.
This was about acceptance.
The final ratification took place on Masters Sunday, which neither Matsuyama nor the golf-crazy people will ever forget.
Matsuyama had four shots that equalized to one when he came out of the first green. His six shots in the middle of the Amen Corner led to two shots as he stepped on the 16th Tee. But he remained steadfast until the end, leading to a legendary occasion in the legendary Butler cabin.
That is when the President of the Masters Fred Ridley addressed the current champion Dustin John Onson and said: “We will be honored if you put the green jacket on our newest champion Hideki Matsuyama.”
“I’m really happy,” Matsuyama said meaningfully, as those were the only words she spoke without her translator.
All of Japan had occasion to celebrate the apony.
The week at Augusta National began with 17-year-old basa Kajitani defeating Augusta National in the women’s amateur circuit. Nine days later, Japan Aponia had its first major winner of the major championship, which, of course, is sure to have a local impact.
Adam Scott can testify to that.
One of his approval contracts takes him to the Japan Open, where he sees the game’s popularity and passion for its stars. He played alongside the first Japanese star of this generation, Matsuyama և Rio Ishikawa. Scott did not ignore this as he played Woods և Phil Mickelson at the US Open in Torry Pine.
“He’s a bit like Tiger Woods for the whole world,” he said of Matsuyama, who continued to win that week.
Now picture Matsuyama in a green jacket.
“I have no idea what it will be like,” said Matsuyama, this time through her translator. “But what an emotion and honor it will be for me to take back the green jacket with aponia. And I’m really looking forward to it. “
Now try to picture the reception at Kasamigaseki Country Club, which will take place at the Olympic venue in about three months. They have been postponed for a year due to the COVID-19 epidemic. If the games continue, the time for golf could not be better.
A private club that only recently allowed women members – it should have been known – Kasamigaseki is where Matsuyama surrounded the pitch with five shots to beat the 2011 Asia-Pacific amateur. wanted the green jacket to inspire more growth in Asia.
Matsuyama earned his first trip to the Masters by winning, he made his first trip to Butler Cab as a low amateur.
His next trip was to the Butler Cab on Sunday after a single shot at the Masters. He was no longer a potential teenager. A nation was watching.
“It is exciting to think that many young people in Aponia are watching today,” he said. “I hope in five, 10 years, when they get a little older, I hope some of them will compete on the world stage.”
Um Ambo Ozaki remains a iconic figure in Japanese golf, winning more than 100 tournaments, although he rarely left home. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011, the year Matsuyama first played for the Masters.
It was Japan Aponia, closest to Isao Aok, who came to win the major. He equaled Jack E. Nicklaus in the final of the 1980 US Open in Baltusrol, conceding two goals to the golfing champion.
“I am blessed to have spent so much time in Japan,” Niklaus tweeted. “I know they love to play golf. They are also very proud people, even more proud today. I was competing against the great Isao Aoki, I know how respected he was. “Hideki will also now be an eternal hero for his country.”
Niklaus already had a soft spot for Matsuyama. His first PGA Tour victory came in 2014 at the Memorial, a tournament held in Nicklaus, Muirfield, Ohio.
“I just think you have just seen the beginning of what one of the great players in your world will be like in the next 10-15 years,” Niklaus said that day.
He has already won more PGA Tours than any Japanese player, and is now up to six years old to go through nine other victories together around the world. He was not interested in announcing that he was ever the best Japan Aponia. He is young and has great respect for those who came before him.
The Masters champion still has a long way to go.
“But I am the first to win a profession,” he said. “And if it’s a benchmark, I set it.”
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