Hideki Matsuyama’s caddie’s emotional 18th-green moment goes viral after Masters win

A simple bow of respect to the course following a historic day.


The world was watching Hideki Matsuyama seize his fate, and become the first men’s major champion from Japan with a victory at the 2021 Masters. But perhaps one of the most emotional moments of the contest came after the winning putt had been made, and the winning player had left the green.

With Matsuyama walking toward the clubhouse after tapping in for the win, his caddie, Shota Hayafuji, collected the flag from the flagstick as a souvenir of the moment, and walked it back toward the hole.

After that, he placed the flagstick in the cup, removed his hat, turned toward the 18th fairway and made a simple bow of respect. It was a subtle gesture, made without much fanfare, but a beautiful one.

Another year in the books, and a historic moment. Besides being the first Japanese man to win a major golf tournament, Matsuyama also became the first Asian-born player to win a Masters. Watch the full video of the moment below:

Luke Kerr-Dineen

Golf.com Contributor

Luke Kerr-Dineen is the Game Improvement Editor at GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com. In his role he oversees the brand’s game improvement content spanning instruction, equipment, health and fitness, across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms.

An alumni of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina–Beaufort golf team, where he helped them to No. 1 in the national NAIA rankings, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to pursue his Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University. His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.