The country of Japan certainly missed hosting the 2020 ZOZO Championship after the success in 2019 which Tiger Woods won his 82nd PGA Tour victory. This year looked a little different without Tiger Woods in the field, however the fans had a different favorite heading into the week. Hideki Matsuyama became the first Japanese golfer to win the Masters in 2021 and thus boosting his fandom in his native country to untapped heights. Expectations were incredibly high for Matsuyama and the 29 year old did not disappoint. In his return, Matsuyama not only took home the trophy but did it in dramatic fashion. A 5-under 65 on Sunday led to a 5 shot victory over the Americans, Brendan Steele and Cameron Tringale. If the victory at Augusta earlier this year was not enough for Hideki Matsuyama to gain the respect of his entire home nation, the victory in Chiba, Japan on Sunday definitely did.
Ever since turning professional in 2013 Hideki Matsuyama has been Japan’s “it” player on the PGA Tour. His career has included 16 international victories, 7 of which were on the PGA Tour. As someone who loves the game of golf, it is not hard to root for Hideki. His respect for the game and ability to be in contention week after week makes him extremely likeable. Collin Morikawa was one of our players to watch out for this week, and while it might not have been the result he would have liked, Morikawa still finished in the top-10 (T-7). This week in Japan caps off back-to-back weeks in contention for Collin and a hot start to the FedEx Cup wrap-around season. After a 3rd place finish last week and a full head of steam headed into the ZOZO Championship, Rickie Fowler unfortunately returned to his previous form with a tied for 44th performance. These next few tournaments will be a huge test for Fowler and the future of his career on the PGA Tour. The 2021 ZOZO Championship has once again proved why it is so important to host PGA Tour events in a variety of countries across the world, Matsuyama’s performance this week easily could have inspired the “next Hideki Matsuyama”. Spreading the game of golf is what it is all about and these tournaments are the best opportunity to do so.
Play more, Complain Less.