Hideki Matsuyama: 5 things to know about the Masters frontrunner

Hideki Matsuyama

Hideki Matsuyama is on the cusp of his first major title.

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Hideki Matsuyama is in position to make history at the Masters on Sunday by becoming the first Japanese player ever to win a major championship. But how familiar are you with the 29-year-old five-time PGA Tour winner? Here are five things to know.

1. Hideki Matsuyama leads a very private life

Despite being subject to his every move being chronicled on the golf course by an ever-present contingent of Japanese media, Matsuyama was described in 2017 as “really, really shy” by Eiko Oizumi, a writer and photographer for Golf Today Japan. “He doesn’t want to show his private life,” Oizumi told GOLF’s Alan Bastable, adding that Japanese reporters are reluctant to ask him questions about his off-course pursuits for fear of making him uncomfortable.

2. Hideki Matsuyama is a husband — and a father!

At the 2017 Northern Trust, Matsuyama revealed that he had not only gotten married that January, but also welcomed his first child in July of that year. So why the secrecy? “No one really asked me if I was married, so I didn’t have to answer that question,” he said. “But I felt that after the PGA would be a good time, because our baby is born and I thought that would be a good time to let everyone know.”

hideki matsuyama at masters
How Hideki Matsuyama’s undisclosed marriage revealed his deeply private nature
By: Alan Bastable

3. Hideki Matsuyama has already won a trophy at Augusta National

Back in 2011, Matsuyama was a 19-year-old amateur, playing in his first Masters — the first Japanese amateur ever to do so. He ended up finishing T27, good enough to claim low amateur honors and the silver cup, which was presented to him in Butler Cabin.

4. Hideki Matsuyama is big fan of sake

When Matsuyama was asked at the 2017 Tournament of Champions about the most fun thing he did during the short off-season, he had a winning answer.

“Probably drinking sake,” Matsuyama said through his interpreter. “I had my share. It wasn’t just a little. We did party pretty good.”

5. Hideki Matsuyama “pauses” at the top of his backswing

Matsuyama’s backswing “pause” has become a signature move. Matusyama has said it’s unintentional, but it’s the result of trying to be “as slow as I can at the top.”

Golf.com Editor

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.