Hideki Matsuyama won the 2021 Masters–the first Japanese player to do so–and it came about a decade following his 2011 low amateur showing, when he earned his spot by winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur in 2010 and 2011. –By Brian Hurlburt, Founder and Host, Magnifying Excellence Podcast.
While Matsuyama’s victory on the course was impressive, the chain of events leading to this moment also exuded Excellence. The Asia-Pacific Amateur was created in 2009 by the Masters Tournament governing body and The R&A, organizers of The Open Championship. The goal was to increase the awareness of golf and also provide opportunities for the best amateurs to play in the Masters and the Open Championship–and someday win. For the first time at the Masters, the goal was realized as Matsuyama became the first Asia-Pacific Amateur champion to also win the green jacket at Augusta National.
Goal realized by Matsuyama.
Goal realized by the Masters and the R&A.
A dream moment of Excellence realized by Japan.
It’s “like winning the Super Bowl in their country” said Kevin Harms, caddie for Kevin Na, while Adam Scott added that Matsuyama’s profile “is like Tiger Woods in America” but multiplied.
Following his Masters victory, Matsuyama gave a nod to the Augusta organizers for his original chance to play 10 years ago.
“It was a difficult time in Japan because the earthquake and tsunami had just hit, and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to come or not,” he said. “But I came and fortunately was able to finish low amateur, and that experience, knowing I could play with other professionals really gave me a lot of confidence. I owe a deep debt of gratitude to the members of Augusta National because I wouldn’t be here today without them.”
Goals of Excellence realized all around.