Who is Hideki Matsuyama? Joe Biden calls 29-year-old golfer a ‘Japanese boy’ at presser with PM Yoshihide Suga
'You've got a Japanese boy coming over here, and guess what, he won the Masters'
Japanese professional golfer Hideki Matsuyama found himself in the spotlight thanks to President Joe Biden. During a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Biden said, "You've got a Japanese boy coming over here, and guess what, he won the Masters." Biden was referring to Matsuyama's 2021 Masters Tournament win at the Augusta National Golf Course, Georgia.
The win is a significant achievement for Matsuyama, making him the first Japanese man to win the coveted 'green jacket' at Augusta. That's not all though, Matsuyama has a string of victories making him one of the most successful Japanese golfers in PGA history.
That record, coming at the young age of 29, has drawn the attention of the entire golf world and the Japanese people. No wonder then, President Biden was keen to mention him in his remarks at the Rose Garden. Here's a look at the life and successes of one of Japan's greatest sportspersons.
Who is Hideki Matsuyama?
Born in February 1992, Matsuyama began a life-long love with golf at the tender age of four, thanks to his father. However, his skills really blossomed during his time at boarding school and university. In 2010, he became the first Japanese amateur at Augusta National after a win at the Asian Amateur championship. At the 2011 Masters, he snagged the Silver Cup, awarded to the lowest scoring amateur.
2011 proved to be an equally fruitful year, as he defended his Asian Amateur win and won the gold medal at the 2011 World University Games. A string of successes led him to become the No 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking in 2012. In 2013, he then turned professional just months after he turned 20. He finished in the top 10 at the 2013 US Open, and had a series of wins that year.
In 2014, Matsuyama won his first PGA tournament with the 2014 Memorial Tournament. Both 2014 and 2015 saw him win multiple laurels, and he should have been a sure-shot at the 2016 Olympics. However, he decided to pull out due to concerns over the Zika virus epidemic in Brazil. His Augusta National win allowed him to become the first Japanese male to claim the coveted green jacket.
Personal life a closely guarded secret
Matsuyama is famously shy about his personal life and keeps it a closely guarded secret. As a huge celebrity, he is constantly in the spotlight but still manages to keep his personal life personal. In 2017, he shocked the press by revealing he was married and had become a father for the first time. "No one really asked me if I was married, so I didn’t have to answer that question," he told Golf.com.
Beyond the name of his wife (Mei) and daughter (Kanna), not much is known about Matsuyama's personal life. After his victory at Augusta, he revealed his love for Sake, the Japanese spirit. When asked about an off-season activity he loved doing, he said, "probably drinking sake". Celebrity Net Worth estimated his net worth to be at around $35 million, and he could be set to earn over $1 billion as a result of his Augusta win.