On Sunday, April 11, Hideki Matsuyama became the first Japanese golfer to secure a green jacket and be crowned the 2021 Masters Tournament winner. Matsuyama did something on that Sunday that will resonate within the hearts of every Japanese citizen for years to come.
Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Arnold Palmera are all PGA pro legends in their own right. All these men have something in common: They are American. Matsuyama is now in a class of his own. He has opened up a door for other Japanese golfers to make an impact on the PGA Tour.
The green grass, tall trees, sand bunkers, and the dreaded ponds that litter golf courses are the few things that come to mind when someone hears the word “golf.” A Sunday leisure activity to some became a way of life for Matsuyama. Starting at four years old, he began swinging a golf club and did not stop until he reached the mountain top.
The beautiful and horrid thing about golf is that when a player is having a good day, it seems like nothing can go wrong, and vice versa. Matsuyama walked up to the final hole at Augusta National with a comfortable two stroke lead and a feeling he could do no wrong. Runner-up finisher Will Zalatoris sat on the hitting range, praying for a miracle while Matsuyama approached a par four on the eighteenth hole.
Matsuyama proceeded to pull out his driver and rip a shot off the tee down the fairway. After that shot, all the viewers saw the realization in his eyes that he is just a chip and a putt away from every golfer's dream: the green jacket.
After getting onto the green, Matsuyama missed his first putt, bringing him to 10-under, just one stroke below the runner-up Zalatoris. After a tap-in putt to end the day, Matsuyama was crowned the tournament winner.
From that day on, the PGA landscape will be forever changed.