On Sunday Hideki Matsuyama became the first Asian-born Masters champion and first Japanese male to win a major championship. One of Hawaii’s own has a unique perspective watching the 29-year-old put on the iconic Green Jacket.
“I can just only imagine how nervous he was with the weight of his country on his shoulders. It’s a monumental feat for him,” Guy Yamamoto told KHON2’s Alan Hoshida during today’s Pro-Am at the LOTTE Championship.
Yamamoto played in the 1995 Masters after winning the 1994 U.S. Amateur Public Links. He even earned some crystal with his memorable eagle in round two of the event. Matsuyama is heading home with plenty of tangible mementos, including $2.07 millions dollars, but it’s difficult to quantify how significant an impact his win will have on golf in Japan and Asia.
“I think is the future for Hideki he will be a rock star, like the Beatles. As far as golf, it’s a fantastic day. I think it will grow the game exponentially not only in Japan, but throughout Asia.”
Guy was one of the many local players participating in this year’s LOTTE Championship. He says the course is in great shape even on short notice.
“I know they’ve had tournaments out her before, so I know they can to rip up the golf course in a short period of time to get it ready, but it looks great. It’s nice to see sports returning to Hawai’i.”
1st round of the LOTTE Championship at Kapolei Golf Club begins on Wednesday. It will air on Golf Channel 1pm-5pm Hawai’i time all four days of the tournament.