The secrets behind Hideki Matsuyama’s historic Masters triumph
Hideki Matsuyama’s stellar iron play and deft touch around the greens were the standout features of a historic Masters victory which crowned him Japan’s first male major champion. Matsuyama did not receive much coverage in the build-up to the tournament but is far from a shock winner: he was close to becoming the World No 1 in 2017 and his maiden PGA Tour victory, in 2014, came at the Muirfield Village course that Jack Nicklaus designed with more than a stylistic nod to Augusta National. For a player of his undoubted quality, however, Matsuyama had disappointed in the majors, without a top-10 finish since the 2017 US Open. His fortunes changed at the Masters, and this is how he did it. Accurate but not long That Augusta National is a second-shot golf course is crystal clear. You cannot get round by slapping drives all over the place now the course has been lengthened and a first cut of rough has been grown, but it remains the most forgiving of golf’s four majors of the tee. At almost 7,500 yards, distance is a big advantage at Augusta, particularly when it comes to making mincemeat of the par fives, but less so this year due to the warm weather and firm, bouncy conditions. There were only about six players who could win at Augusta in November when it played every yard of its length with sodden fairways, but this Masters had a more open feel and was the better for it.
Published: 2021-04-14 03:42:00
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