home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


April 4, 2017

Hideki Matsuyama

Augusta, Georgia

MODERATOR: Good morning, everyone. We are pleased to have with us today Japan's top‑ranked player and the No. 4 player in the world, Hideki Matsuyama. He is returning to Augusta National for his sixth Masters appearance.
Hideki now has four PGA TOUR victories after winning the WGC‑HSBC Champions and successfully defending his title at the Waste Management Phoenix Open this year.
He has also claimed two runner‑up finishes so far in the 2017 season. Hideki placed tied for seventh in the Masters last year, for his second consecutive Top‑10 finish.
Before we open it up to questions, Hideki, welcome again. We would love to hear any remarks that you would like to make in terms of your assessment of your game heading into this week's Masters.
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I'm really looking forward to playing in my sixth Masters. It's great to be here, as always.

Q. What's the biggest difference between how you're playing now versus how you were playing in November, December, and January?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Compared to last November and December, my game isn't at that same level right now. However, since the Match Play Championship in Austin, I've been working hard and seeing some improvement. That's one of the reasons I'm really looking forward to this week to see how my game stands up.

Q. Any specific area that you've especially been addressing?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I've been working on my short game a lot. Almost too much, because my longer shots, iron shots, drivers, have suffered a bit. And because of that, I've gone back to the full swing now and working a lot more on that than I have been.

Q. You know where I'm going with the question. Obviously you're finally here and you've been talking about wanting to get here for a long time and take your game when it was at its height to this course. Have you got the confidence in the back pocket to get through this week at the level you expect?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Again, I'm really not hitting it as well as I would like. So whether or not my confidence level is where it should be, I'm not sure.
But one thing I am looking forward to is for the bells to ring on Thursday and see how I do. I hope I can play a lot better than I have been the last couple weeks.

Q. If I can follow, is there almost a way to spin it as an advantage that you've trailed off a little bit, because given the amount of attention that was on through the early part of the year, potentially heading here under even more potential pressure than anybody now?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: You know, maybe you're right. But nobody likes to play poorly, and we've struggled a bit in the last couple weeks, like I said.
But again, I'm really looking forward to this week. This is the first major of the year and I've put a lot of energy, a lot of work into preparing for this week, and hopefully on Sunday, when I walk off the 18th green, I can be satisfied with how I played.

Q. Curious what your earliest recollection of the Masters is, when you first saw it on TV. And secondly, when you did watch, were you looking for Jumbo, if he was still playing, or were you just looking at the Masters?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: My first Masters that I ever watched on TV was the 1997 Masters when Tiger won. And I remember that more than anything. I don't remember watching Jumbo play, though, that week.

Q. He had a nice shirt on, Jumbo. Didn't he used to wear a nice shirt?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Maybe. You probably know better than I. So '97, I was only five years old.

Q. The Top‑10s the last two years, how much of that is based on just playing well at the time and how much is based on increased course knowledge, and what are the most important things you've learned in the seven years you've been coming here now?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Last two years, I didn't hit it that well but I was able to get it in the hole. Every year I play the course, you learn a little more, especially where not to hit it. That's been one of the keys, playing five times before, that I've been able to learn and to understand.
And so to answer your question, I guess course management is what's really helped me. Even though I'm not hitting it well, I can still hit it around okay.

Q. You're talking about what you've learned. We ask a lot of first‑timers about the whole experience. What was your learning curve between the first time and second time? You got the first one out of the way; what did you learn between the first time and second time?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Probably between the first and second year. The first year when I came, I didn't know anything about the course. Had no fear. No demons. Just went out and played.
The second year, that was a big difference. I knew what was ahead and I knew the difficulty of the golf course. And each year since then, I've been able to learn a little bit more of how to play the Augusta National Golf Club.

Q. Do you remember anything at five years old of watching Tiger Woods, any moment of what he was wearing, anything?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Probably the thing I remember most, I was five years old, so I didn't know much about golf, but he sure looked good in that red shirt and black pants. I mean, I can still see it.
The one thing I remember about Tiger's play was how far he hit it and how far the‑‑ how the announcers were praising how far he could hit it. That's what I remember from the first Masters.

Q. What is the difference in terms of interest in Japan between the four majors?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: First of all, it's the Masters. We play the same course every year. And so the Japanese golf fans and TV viewers are familiar with the golf course. And so for them, it's a lot easier to turn the TV on and know what's going on because, again, familiar with each of the holes.
And how to answer the other part of your question, the U.S. Open and The Open Championship, PGA; I don't know how to answer your question.

Q. I would have been curious if The Open Championship also had a certain place, just because of the number of Japanese entries from Japan and Open Champion, etc.
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: And you're right, at The Open Championship, there are probably more Japanese participants, players, and maybe the golf fans in Japan are watching them specifically.
But the Masters, the Japanese golf fans look at the Masters kind of more of a worldwide stage. They see all the great players from around the world. Usually just a few Japanese.
So at the Masters, the Japanese golf fans have an opportunity to see more maybe of the world's best, and in that sense, it's a special tournament among all the majors.

Q. Do they root harder for Hideki or for Tiger back in the day?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I hope they would root for me more than Tiger, but I'm not sure.

Q. You have high standards for yourself. How often would you say you are happy with how you're hitting the ball?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: That's a good question. Maybe I'm never satisfied. But hopefully this week I'll be 100 percent satisfied with the way I play.

Q. When you were in high school and college, would you wake up early, 3:00 a.m., to watch the start of the broadcast, or wait until 8:00?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: In high school, we didn't have a TV. I was at a boarding school, so we didn't have a TV. I probably watched it on video more than anything else.

Q. How did you find out who won?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Read the newspaper.

Q. Good.
MODERATOR: Hideki, thank you so much for being with us this morning. Very good luck to you this week. Play well. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297