Augusta National Golf Club, in America, is home to the most coveted weekend in golf. The Masters.
(Mostly) old men and aspiring legends gather around their TV to watch dozens of the world’s best golfers battle it out for the most wanted piece of clothing in the world, the green sport coat. This coat is only worn by the best of the best and given out once a year.
This year, Hideki Matsuyama of Japan had the coat wrapped over his shoulder in victory.
Just months from the Tokyo Olympics, Matsuyama winning the largest event in golf proved to shine a new light on Japanese golfers.
Matsuyama’s win was not only monumental to him, but to an entire country.
Hideki Matsuyama: The Shy Golfer Behind the Jacket
Matsuyama, 29, was born in Ehime, Japan and attended school at Tohoku Fukushi University. Turning pro in 2013, Matsuyama has claimed the champion title at:
- 2014 the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance
- 2016 Waste Management Phoenix Open
- 2017 World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions, Waste Management Phoenix Open, World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational
In 2011, Matsuyama played as an amateur at the Masters, being the first-ever Japanese golfer to do so. Matsuyama has pulled in eight more victories at matches worldwide.
He is a great golfer who tends to lean on the shy side. According to Golf.com, Matsuyama was referred to as, ” really, really shy,” by Eiko Oizumi, a writer for Golf Today Japan. His golf game seems so mild and temperamental since his reactions to poor and good shots are relatively the same.
He tends to keep his private life, including his wife and kids, to himself and only publically showcases his talented yet unique swing.
Matsuyama’s 2021 Masters Win: The Win of a Nation
Japan is known for its amazing food, eccentric culture, but it is also known to be the hub for all things golf. In Japan, over 7 million people play golf and to see their country represented in the largest match of the year, is inspiring.
Hiroshi Yamanaka, the managing director of the Japan Golf Association, said Matsuyama’s one-shot win might spark the interest of many more future golfers that were watching the Masters this year.
On Monday in Tokyo, tons of amateur golfers fled to the driving range to hit balls in celebration of Matsuyama’s big Masters win. Although golf has been long appreciated and loved in the country of Japan, this year’s Masters allows Japan to take a big step forward into the spotlight of golf excellence.
When news broke in Japan of Matsuyama’s major win, the nation exploded with glory and glee. On TV, teared up, TBS announcer Wataru Ogasawara said, “Finally, finally, Japanese has become the top of the world!”
Asian countries have been found to be disproportionately underappreciated and underrepresented in sports. In 2014, Division 1 college basketball had 5,380 men’s players with only 15 of them being Asian or Asian-American. That is just one of many examples of Asian athletes lacking representation of aesthetic excellence in both college and professional fields.
This lack of representation in televised sports causes young children to be discouraged from pursuing a career in sports. Its instances like the Masters this year, winners like Matsuyama can promote change and give people the representation they deserve to motivate a generation of athletes.
That is exactly what Matsuyama hopes his green jacket does.
Who knows, Matsuyama’s win might’ve just inspired some kid sitting in front of his television set halfway across to world to one day step onto Augusta National Golf Club to win the exact same title.