Matsuyama ready to kick on after ‘relief’ of winning US Masters

Japanese star returning to action at AT&T Byron Nelson after breaking Major duck

Hideki Matsuyama is set to return to action in Texas a month on from his US Masters win. Photograph: Jared C Tilton/Getty

Hideki Matsuyama is set to return to action in Texas a month on from his US Masters win. Photograph: Jared C Tilton/Getty

 

US Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama is targeting more success after the “relief” of securing his maiden major title.

Matsuyama took a four-shot lead into the final round at Augusta National and overcame a nervy start to secure the green jacket and become the first male Japanese player to win a major.

The 29-year-old has not played competitively since then and had to spend a period in quarantine after returning to Japan, but will contest this week’s AT&T Byron Nelson in Texas ahead of the year’s second major, the US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island.

“It was a relief, really, to win the Masters,” Matsuyama told a pre-tournament press conference.

“It had been a while and now moving forward and looking forward, I still have the drive to want to win more on the PGA Tour and hopefully (use) the confidence or the relief.

“It’s kind of an unusual combination of the two feelings of how I look at myself and hopefully I’ll be successful in the future.

“After you win a tournament you make some adjustments and you go on, but this time going back to Japan and really not picking up a club much over there, I didn’t get to practice very much at all.

“Coming back here, really one of my goals now is just to try to find my game again and prepare for the PGA Championship next week.”

Matsuyama took the green jacket to show his family and friends in Japan and also wore it when receiving an award from prime minister Yoshihide Suga, but first he had to spend two weeks in quarantine.

“I was able to probably read every news article and newspaper and magazine and TV and seeing how the Masters win was portrayed in Japan was great, really unforgettable,” the world number 15 added.

“It was by far the most (I’ve read about myself). A bit embarrassing. I’m not used to all that attention, but grateful that people took notice.”

Former champion Jordan Spieth, who was third behind Matsuyama in the Masters, is also making his return to competition at TPC Craig Ranch after revealing he contracted Covid-19 shortly after the first major of the year.

“It was bad for a day and a half and then it was just kind of annoying for the next five days, kind of lost energy and sinus stuff,” Spieth said. “I would say the last week to week and a half now I’ve been acting as if it never happened.

“I guess, if there’s ever a good time during the season (to get it), it kind of worked out OK. But I was planning on continuing to play. I wasn’t planning on taking a month off in the spring.

“So at this point, it’s get back to playing golf and try and get in the same rhythm I was in and just kind of be patient with it.”

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