Hideki Matsuyama's breakthrough Masters triumph will "impact the entire golf world", according to 15-time major champion Tiger Woods.
Matsuyama made history as he became the first Japanese man to win a major tournament after claiming The Masters by one shot in a thrilling finale at Augusta on Sunday. A five-time PGA Tour winner before this success, Matsuyama withstood a wobble and the threat posed by Xander Schauffele (72) and Will Zalatoris (70) to complete a history-making performance in Georgia, where he triumphed at 10 under par overall following a 73 to get his hands on the green jacket.
Matsuyama (2011) became the third Masters champion in the last five years to have previously earned low amateur honours, following in the footsteps of Woods (2019, low amateur in 1995) and Sergio Garcia (2017, low amateur in 1999).
Five-time Masters champion and American superstar Woods – who is recovering after a near-fatal single-car collision in February – congratulated the 29-year-old Matsuyama via social media.
"Making Japan proud Hideki. Congratulations on such a huge accomplishment for you and your country," Woods wrote on Twitter. "This historic Masters win will impact the entire golf world."
Matsuyama – four strokes clear at the start of the day – had extended his lead to five at the turn, but his title bid threatened to turn sour as Schauffele closed in and Zalatoris loomed. After finding water at the par-five 15th hole, Matsuyama took the penalty and cleaned up for bogey as Schauffele continued to heap pressure on the Japanese hopeful, cutting the lead to two shots with his fourth consecutive birdie. But Schauffele's pursuit of a maiden major collapsed when the American – seven back at the 12th tee before rallying – also found water before sending his next shot into the crowd.
Matsuyama had a routine par to move three shots clear with two to play, but he dropped another shot, his lead down to two ahead of Zalatoris as an ill-timed triple-bogey sent 2019 runner-up Schauffele down to equal third alongside Spieth – four shots behind. It was Schauffele's first triple-bogey in a major championship – a run of 1,042 holes.
That was the breathing space Matsuyama needed as Japan's new poster boy held his nerve, doing what he needed to do during the final two holes in front of an appreciative crowd on the 18th, where not even a bogey could wipe away the champion's smile.