Hideki Matsuyama wins The Masters, becomes first Japanese major winner

Hideki Matsuyama capture The Masters on Sunday with a two-stroke victory at Augusta, a historic win as the first Japanese major championship winner in golf. 

After taking a commanding four-stroke lead into Sunday at The Masters, Hideki Matsuyama was able to close the deal with a one-over 73 and win the first major championship of 2021. However, the historical significance is much greater than that as Matsuyama’s victory makes him the first Japanese major championship winner in the history of golf.

Matsuyama didn’t necessarily cruise to victory. He held a six-stroke lead midway through the final round at Augusta National Golf Club but a costly bogey on the 15th hole put his playing partner in the final group, Xander Schauffele, just two strokes off the lead and the gap seemingly closing rapidly.

But the Japanese sensation saw the charge from Schauffele stifled when the latter put his tee shot on the Par-3 16th hole in the water, leading to a triple bogey. Even with Matsuyama bogeying that hole as well, he sat at 11-under with the closest competitor, debutant Will Zalatoris, two shots off the pace and already having finished his round.

A calm par on the 17th hole and a savvy up-and-down for bogey on the final hole clinched the monumental victory for Matsuyama, who was overcome with emotion as he picked up the victory.

Hideki Matsuyama winning The Masters is a historic moment we should rever

It’s safe to say that Matsuyama isn’t one of the biggest stars on the PGA Tour, though he’s a massive figure in his native Japan. But that shouldn’t belittle the substantial accomplishment he completed on Sunday.

Being the first Japanese major championship winner is hugely important for the global game of golf. We have seen numerous fantastic Asian players enter the golfing world with a bang over recent years and Matsuyama has been a constant over that time, even if his last victory prior to The Masters was four years ago.

Furthermore, Matsuyama didn’t just make history as a Japanese winner but, as the low amateur from The Masters in 2011, he became just the seventh player in the 85-year history of the event to achieve that feat and then go on to win the Green Jacket, joining Jack Nicklaus, Ben Crenshaw, Cary Middlecoff, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia — not bad company to be in.

Forever a Masters champion, Matsuyama has cemented himself as a legend not only in Japan but also in the golfing annuls of history.