On Saturday at Augusta National Golf Club, Hideki Matsuyama surged up the leaderboard with a round of 7-under 65 to secure the 54-hole lead on 11 under par.
The 29-year old star will take a four-shot advantage into Sunday’s finale of the 2021 Masters Tournament, attempting to become Japan’s first major golf champion, and the first Asian winner of the green jacket.
Here’s some background information on Hideki Matsuyama, ahead of the final round of the Masters.
1. Hideki Matsuyama’s Pro-File
Who is Hideki Matsuyama? He’s one of the very best golfers in the world, who found instant success early on, and enjoyed his best years (thus far) in 2016 and 2017 when he won seven times and was regularly ranked in the world top 10.
Even amid his winless drought (2018-2021) Matsuyama has remained world-class good, never even coming close to falling out of the world top 50. In fact his worst ranking during this winless span is 32nd.
How’s this for consistency? Since midway through his rookie campaign in 2013, spanning some eight years and parts of nine seasons (or 400-plus weeks), Matsuyama has never been ranked lower than No. 32 in the world. Only Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson can claim longer streaks of world-ranking consistency.
Name: Hideki Matsuyama
Height: 5′ 11″
Weight: 190 lbs
Born: Feb. 25, 1992 (age 29)
Native: Matsuyama, Ehime, Japan
Residence: Orlando, Fl.; Sendai, Japan
College: Tohoku Fukushi University
Family: Wife, Mei; Kanna
Turned Pro: 2013
Primary Sponsor: Srixon
2. What’s In The Bag of Hideki Matsuyama?
Hideki Matsuyama primarily plays Srixon/Cleveland gear (driver, irons, wedges, and ball), but also utilizes TaylorMade (metals) and Titleist/Scotty Cameron (putter).
Driver: Srixon ZX5 (9.5°)
3-Metal: TaylorMade SIM Max (15°)
Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max (19°)
Driving Iron: Srixon ZX (4, 23°)
Irons: Srixon Z-Forged, (5-PW)
Gap Wedge: Cleveland RTX 4 (52°)
Sand Wedge: Cleveland RTX 4 (56˚)
Lob Wedge: Cleveland RTX 4 (60˚)
Putter: Scotty Cameron Circle T GSS
Golf Ball: Srixon Z-Star XV
3. Matsuyama’s Blue-Chip Amateur Career Highlighted By The Masters and World No. 1
Matsuyama won the 2010 Asian Amateur Championship with a score of 68-69-65-67=269. This earned the then 18-year old a trip to the 2011 Masters Tournament, becoming the first Japanese amateur to tee it up at Augusta National.
At the Masters, Matsuyama finished 1-under par, good for T27, to claim the Silver Cup, which is presented to the lowest scoring amateur. He was the only amateur to make the cut.
Later in 2011, Matsuyama won the gold medal at the 2011 World University Games, and successfully defended his Asian Amateur Championship title. In November, Matsuyama won the Mitsui Sumitomo VISA Taiheiyo Masters on the Japan Golf Tour while still an amateur.
In August of 2012, Matsuyama reached No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
4. Matsuyama Enjoys Immediate Success as Tour Pro
Matsuyama turned pro in April 2013 and won in just his second start: the 2013 Tsuruya Open on the Japan Golf Tour. Five weeks later, he claimed his second win of the Japan Golf Tour season at the Diamond Cup Golf Tournament.
Following a top-10 finish at the 2013 U.S. Open, the 21-year old Matsuyama – who’d only been a pro for three months, entered the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking. He won his third Japan Golf Tour event of the season at the Fujisankei Classic in September, and added a fourth 2013 victory in December at the Casio World Open. The win made Matsuyama the first rookie to lead the Japan Tour’s money list.
Even more impressively, at just 21, Matsuyama qualified for three of the golf majors (he turned pro after the 2013 Masters) and finished in the top 10 in both the U.S. Open (T10) and British Open Championship (T6), while adding a top 20 in the PGA Championship (T19).
5. Matsuyama’s Career Highlights
Hideki Matsuyama owns six (6) victories on the PGA Tour:
2014 Memorial Tournament
2016 WM Phoenix Open
2016 Hero World Challenge*
2017 WGC-HSBC Champions
2017 WM Phoenix Open
2017 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational
* Not official PGA Tour win but official as world ranking event.
The 29-year old also has racked up eight (8) victories on the Japan Golf Tour:
2011 Mitsui Sumitomo Visa Taiheiyo
2013 Tsuruya Open
2013 Diamond Cup Golf
2013 Fujisankei Classic
2013 Casio World Open
2014 Dunlop Phoenix
2016 Japan Open Golf Championship
2016 Taiheiyo Masters
Matsuyama has been world-class consistent since his rookie season, never (even coming close to) falling out of the world top 50, or failing to qualify for Majors or World Golf Championships.
Year: Year-End Rank, Best Rank, Worst Rank
2013: 23, 23, N/A
2014: 16, 13, 28
2015: 15, 14, 17
2016: 6, 6, 19
2017: 5, 2 6
2018: 28, 5, 28
2019: 21, 20, 32
2020: 20, 17, 27
2021: N/A, 20, 25
He’s also played on every Presidents Cup Team since his rookie year: 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2019.