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Hideki Matsuyama, 2021 Masters champion, explained

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Matsuyama is the first Japanese man to win a major tournament. Hideki Matsuyama is the first Japanese man to win the Masters Tournament. The 29-year-old golfer entered Sunday’s final round with a four-shot lead over Will Zalatoris and a pack of others, and he locked in the victory on Sunday by shooting a one-over-par 73.
Matsuyama shot an opening round 69 on Thursday, and followed it up with a one-under-par 71 in the second round on Friday. Matsuyama surged to the top of the leaderboard with a 65 on Saturday, which tied Justin Rose for the best round at this year’s Masters. He withstood a furious close from 27-year-old American Xander Schauffele to win the green jacket.
Matsuyama won the Masters with a score of -10. Zalatoris finished second overall at -9. A late triple-bogie by Schauffele dropped him to a tie for third with Spieth at -7.
This is Matsuyama’s first major, and his first win on tour since 2017, but he’s been ranked near the top of the world over the last several years. He’s no stranger to winning a tournament: he had a total of 14 career wins on the PGA Tour, European Tour, and Japan Golf Tour coming into this tournament.
If you’re just learning about Matsuyama, this is everything you need to know.
Matsuyama is the first Japanese man to win a major on the PGA Tour
Matsuyama was born on Feb. 25, 1992 in the city of Matsuyama in the Ehime Prefecture on the Japanese island of Shikoku. There have been several notable golfers from Japan on the PGA Tour over the years, but Matsuyama is the first male golfer to win a major.
Hisako Higuchi (1977 LPGA Championship) and Hinako Shibuno (2019 Women’s British Open) have both won major tournaments as Japanese women.
The Masters is Matsuyama’s 15th career victory
After winning the Asian Amateur Championship in 2010 and 2011, Matsuyama turned pro in 2013. A year later, he became the first Japanese player to win on the PGA Tour since Ryuji Imada in 2008 by capturing first place at 2014 Memorial Tournament.
Matsuyama won the Waste Management Phoenix Open in 2016 and 2017. He won both tournaments in a playoff, defeating Rickie Fowler the first year, and then beating Webb Simpson.

Matsuyama won World Golf Championship and the e WGC-Bridgestone Invitational
Matsuyama has come close to winning a major before
Matsuyama has been near the top of the leaderboard at a major several times. He finished tied for sixth at the 2013 Open Championship, fifth at the Masters in 2015, tied for fourth at the PGA Championship in 2016, and finished tied for second at the U.S. Open in 2017.
Matsuyama surged in front during the third round of The Masters
Watch every shot of his 65 here.

Watch every shot of the third-round 65 that gave Hideki Matsuyama the 54-hole lead. #themasters pic.twitter.com/JgJAX031wT— The Masters (@TheMasters) April 11, 2021

Matsuyama was briefly ranked No. 2 in the world
While Matsuyama entered The Masters this year ranked No. 25 in the world, he has placed as high as No. 2 overall in 2017 after his second place finish at the U.S. Open.
Matsuyama has a tiny pause on his back swing
Matsuyama has a distinct swing when he tees off. He has a slow backswing, then briefly pauses at the top of his swing, before quickly striking the ball.
The video below shows Matsuyama’s swing synced with Tony Finau’s swing — you can see how much faster Finau’s swing is than Matsuyama’s.

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Matsuyama is a huge star in Japan
Matsuyama has had a large contingent of media from Japan following him since he joined the tour. Here’s the Japanese broadcast call of his birdie on hole No. 9 on Sunday.

Japan is waking up to an exciting finish.How Hideki Matsuyama’s birdie at No. 9 sounded in Japanese. pic.twitter.com/zeyGJUr2OH— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) April 11, 2021

Matsuyama’s career earnings were more than 30 million before winning the Masters
Matsuyama’s career earnings were $31,220,951 coming into the tournament, per ESPN, which ranked No. 37 among active golfers. He’ll earn $2,070,000 for winning the Masters.
Matsuyama did a great commercial with Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Jason Day

One of the best things we’ve ever produced, starring Hideki Matsuyama and a few of his friends (you may have heard of them): pic.twitter.com/NzpI774y4Y— Stina Sternberg (@StinaSternberg) April 10, 2021

Matsuyama is getting his green jacket
The first major is the sweetest. Congrats to Hideki Matsuyama.
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