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April 4, 2011

Hideki Matsuyama


CLAUDE NIELSEN: Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for joining us here this afternoon. We are very proud of the young man to my left, Hideki Matsuyama of Japan. As the winner of the 2010 Asian Amateur Championship, he represents one of six talented amateur champions in this week's field.
Before we take questions, I do want to acknowledge and say that we realize how difficult a decision it is for you to come from Japan to be here with us and play in this competition. We understand you attend university in Sendai, one of the areas impacted most by the recent disaster. And on behalf of all of our members, patrons and I'm quite sure, the worldwide golf community, we extend our support, our encouragement, and we hope you and your loved ones are recovering well.
Before we take questions, Hideki would like to make an opening remark.
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I am delighted to be a participant in the Masters Tournament, which I have dreamed of playing since my childhood days. Also, I sincerely thank the Augusta National Golf Club, the R&A, the Asia Pacific Golf Federation for giving me a chance to play at this tournament. An amateur player from the Asia Pacific region like myself would not have been able to play here without their kind support.
As all of you know, the massive earthquake of March 11 has done devastating damage to the Tohoku region of Japan. Literally thousands of lives have been lost and there are still a lot of people missing. Further, life infrastructure is still in the recovery process and a lot of the inhabitants have been forced to live in merge relief places and I am from the Tohoku region back home and not sure if I should play in the Masters, even at this very moment; still, I have decided to play.
I have decided to play because so many people have pushed me; the people at my university who have suffered, and my teammates and my parents, who made me start to play the sport of golf. Everyone has been supportive. I have decided to play at the Masters, not only for myself, but for the people who have made who I am. The Masters, which has been my dream, is their dream as well. Doing my best here is my obligation for them.
The earthquake has given an incredible hard time for so many people, however the mood for revival has already started and the various relief activities have been offered from all over the world. So many of the heartwarming messages from people around the world have been delivered, and still kept coming. As one of the sufferers, I would like to say thank you to the world.
I am moved by the fact that we can be one community of the earth, whenever hardship arises.
Golf is such a wonderful game and through my play, I will express my pleasure for playing at the Masters, and I promise to do my best.

Q. Curious where you were and where your family was when the earthquake hit; you were in Australia playing a tournament, but can you confirm that, and did you know where your family was?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: They are in Sendai. My school is in Sendai. My family is from Ehime, which is a city in the Uchiko District.

Q. Did you lose any friends or family members, and also are they safe now? And also your reaction to Ishikawa's announcement.
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I do not know, because I cannot confirm everything about the safety of friends.
He's a professional and I'm an amateur, so I just do not know on that point.

Q. Have you been to Sendai and seen the scope of the damage of the earthquake since you came home from Australia, and is it hard to put into words what you have seen there?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I've seen it. I've seen it, and it's just indescribable. I just cannot -- I couldn't believe the city I live was devastated by the earthquake and tsunami, and it's just beyond imagination.

Q. After you won the Amateur tournament, and now you've got a ticket to the Masters; did you do anything special to prepare yourself for the Masters?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I received a schedule, the practice schedule from my coach, and I always put the Masters in my head as I practice.

Q. What do you hope to accomplish here this week in terms of your golf, and what do you hope it says to the people back home that can see you play here?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: And I would like to just get birdies as much as I can, and that's my goal. Also, I would like to show my best to the people in Japan, and as I'm not a professional, I'm an amateur; but at the same time, I would like to do my best to provide the Japanese people encouragement.

Q. Where are you staying?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: In the Crow's Nest, and I haven't been there yet.

Q. Why do you stay only one night?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Yeah. (Laughing).

Q. Now that you've provided us with an opening statement, can you tell us how you came to the decision that you would like to make a statement? And you went around for a practice round; tell us about how you felt?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I was able to play today with the many people I saw on TV, and I think that was a great way for me to get used to it.
I wanted to thank the Masters Tournament for inviting me to this wonderful tournament. And also, I wanted to recognize the people in Japan and I wanted to thank those people who supported me.

Q. I understand the school term was supposed to be starting this week. I don't know if the school has been destroyed. Is there anything for you to go back to after this tournament, and what are the plans for the future?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: The school won't be starting until the beginning of May. But during that time, I would like to go back to Sendai and I would love to volunteer for the relief effort.
CLAUDE NIELSEN: Hideki, we are very proud of you and we thank you for being with us. All the best.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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