Matsuyama Makes History at 2021 Masters

Story posted April 13, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Emma Holtz

The 85th Masters surely brought the excitement to golf faithful on a global scale. 29-year-old Hideki Matsuyama stamped his name in the Masters’ history books as the first Japanese professional golfer to win a green jacket.

The final round came to an epic conclusion with Matsuyama crushing a bunker shot on the 18th hole and needing only two putts to earn himself the championship.

Matsuyama secured his victory with a 1-over-73 and a one-shot lead over runner-up Will Zalatoris. In his own right, Zalatoris’ rookie debut could not have gone better. He sunk an 18-foot putt for par and finished with a score of 70.

Around the leaderboard, 27-year-old Jordan Spieth finished with a strong tie for third place at -7 with Xander Schauffele, who had a late drive with four consecutive birdies.

After his 2015 Masters championship, Spieth’s impressive showing quickly faded as he reached a sticky spot in maintaining consistency and power in his shots. However, it was never a time to count Spieth out.

According to CBSSports.com, only six pro golfers have beaten Spieth in five of his last eight Masters appearances: Danny Willett, Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama, Will Zalatoris and Bubba Watson.

In 2021, he made a comeback from six shots behind but failed to maintain the momentum through to the last putt. Still, Spieth reinstated his prowess in the professional realm.

When it comes to the sport of golf, images can capture the exhilaration of mere moments during a golfer’s round. One of the most moving and memorable was Matsuyama’s embrace with his caddy, Shota Hayafuji, on the 18th green surrounded by a crowd on its feet.

To express the momentous accomplishment of Matsuyama’s win, Hayafuji returned the flag to the hole, removed his cap and gave a reverent bow to the Augusta National Golf Course. The clip spread instantly through Twitter feeds around the world, signaling professional golf’s historical and cultural significance.

Matsuyama’s career began exactly 10 years earlier at Augusta National as a 19-year-old with plenty of promise; he took low amateur honors at the 2011 Masters. In the past, he was described as a golfer bereft of emotion and reserved in his responses to inquisitive reporters.

However, facial expressions can be read like words on a page in a golf game. As he received the coveted green jacket, his humility as a professional golf trail blazer and pioneer for Japanese golfers showed through as he slipped his arms through the jacket sleeves.

 

Emma Holtz is a freshman majoring in public relations. To contact her, email exh5337@psu.edu.