Japanese PM leads wave of congratulations for Matsuyama's Masters triumph

·2-min read

Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga led the messages of congratulation on Monday after Hideki Matsuyama became the first male player from the country to win a major golf title at the Masters in Augusta.

The 29-year-old claimed one of the four most prestigious crowns on the men's professional tour after completing the fourth and final round in a one-over par 73.

"It was really wonderful,” said Suga. “As the coronavirus drags on, Matsuyama's achievement moved our hearts and gave us courage."

Matysuyuma went into the final day at the Augusta National course nursing a four shot lead over Justin Rose, Xander Schauffele, Will Zalatoris and Marc Leishman.

He held his nerve in the final stretch to finish one stroke ahead of Zalatoris

Joy

"When the final putt went in, I really wasn't thinking of anything," said Matsuyuma. "But then when I saw my caddie, Shota, and hugged him, I was happy for him because this is his first victory on the bag.

"And then it started sinking in, the joy of being a Masters champion."

Former Masters winner Tiger Woods was among the golfers who hailed the feat.

"Making Japan proud Hideki," tweeted Woods who is recovering from a near-fatal car crash.

"Congratulations on such a huge accomplishment for you and your country. This historical @TheMasters win will impact the entire golf world."

Effect

South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion, said the victory would have a positive effect on the sport.

"It'll be great for Hideki and for his country," Oosthuizen added. "The Japanese love their golf. I think it'll be a great thing for his country."

Matsuyama, who will form part of Japan's team for the golf tournament in the Olympics, said he hoped his victory would inspire young players.

"It's thrilling to think that there are a lot of youngsters in Japan watching and hopefully in five, 10 years, when they get a little older, hopefully some of them will be competing on the world stage.

"I still have a lot of years left, so they are going to have to compete against me still.

"I hope they will see this victory and think it's cool and try and follow in my footsteps."