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April 9, 2011

Hideki Matsuyama


CLAUDE NIELSEN: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. It's a real pleasure to welcome back Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, 19 years old, first Masters appearance, as a results of winning the 2010 Asian Amateur Championship.
He's the first Japanese amateur to play at the Masters. He finished his third round today with a 68, and is 3-under after three rounds of competition. Congratulations on a great round. If you'd like to make a few opening comments, and then we'll take questions.
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I'm very happy that I was able to make the cut yesterday and I was able to play really well today.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about as the day or the afternoon and evening progressed last night as you were on the bubble and the cut line; what were you doing to watch your emotions?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I was nervous and I was just watching TV and I was watching on the Internet. And then that's what I was doing yesterday.

Q. So keeping track of the scores on the Internet?

Q. For many first-time players, playing the Masters is difficult. How are you able to keep your focus and deal with the pressure of playing here?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: In the midst of the earthquake, I was very happy that I was able to come over here and play. I wasn't sure whether I will be able to encourage the people in Japan by my play.
But at least I really wanted to enjoy this experience.

Q. Just wondering what this means in terms of being the low amateur and being the low amateur to make the cut, and getting the silver cup; what that means, if you can put it into words.
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I was very happy that I was the only amateur to play in the final rounds.
But I would like to do my best and play well tomorrow, and to go for the silver cup.

Q. Can you tell us about your five birdies today and what clubs you hit?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: 3-iron tee shot; and the second, 8-iron to one meter.
8, driver and about 145 meters.
10, driver, 8-iron second and two meters.
13, 3-iron, two putts.
16, 7-iron within a meter.

Q. Just wondering how close in proximity you are from where much of the devastation was back home, and what kind of effect, any family or friends of yours?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: My family is far away, so they are okay. But the school I am attending right now is a place that's located at the place, was devastated by the earthquake.

Q. Has the school been devastated, as well?

Q. And where were you? Were you here in the States when that took place or back home in Japan?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I was in Australia doing a training camp.

Q. What were your feelings, not being home during that time, and how would you be able to keep your focus? How have you been able to keep your focus knowing that you've got friends in that area still? And second question is, what are your earliest memories of the Masters or how did you become aware of the Masters? How have you been able to keep your focus?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: For the first question, I talked to my coach, and after we discussed and we decided we were coming over here; and after that, I was able to focus myself to play golf. And this is one of the best things I can do to cope with the situation.

Q. What were your earliest memories of the Masters?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: In the video, I think I watched the Tiger one in 1997. That was the earliest memory.

Q. How many nights did you stay in the Crow's Nest and when you were not there, where did you stay when you were in Augusta?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Well, I never spent a night at the Crow's Nest. I spent at the place where my coach and other people stayed.

Q. I understand that your caddie is a teammate of yours, and if that's the case, did you basically -- the two of you learn the golf course together during the practice rounds?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: We trained together, and after we came here, and then going through the practice round, we learned together. We are going to play together again.

Q. On top of finishing as the leading amateur this week, what is the best memory that you'll take away from Augusta, do you think?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I was very glad to be able to play in this beautiful place; that's one of my impressions.
And I thought the greens were very hard, difficult.

Q. Just getting back to home, just wanted to clarify the name of your university, and when the plan was to go back; and do you know of any friends you've lost from the area with the devastation?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I haven't talked to my friends over there, so I don't know the exact situation. The name of the university is Tohoku Fukushi University.

Q. No. 16, that shot looked like it almost went in on the fly. When it was in the air, did you think you might have a hole-in-one?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I knew that when I hit, I hit exactly how I planned. I knew it was going to be close, but I didn't think it was going to be that close.

Q. What is that close? How far was it?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: About this much (indicating two inches). (Laughter).

Q. When do you plan to return home, or have your plans changed because of the earthquake?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Well, I'm not going to go home. I'm going back to school.

Q. But when do you plan to go back to school?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: After tomorrow, so probably the Monday.

Q. I was wondering, on the first two days of the tournament, you struggled a bit with 16, 17 and 18, you bogeyed both of those holes yesterday and the day before and I think bogeyed 16, as well, on Thursday. So you played them much better today. Are you getting more comfortable with the course? Is it more comfortable having made the cut?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I wasn't thinking anything at all, but today, I knew that the 17th hole, the tee shot is always difficult. But I was able to do well today.

Q. Well, I saw you talking to your caddie and laughing with each other. Can you tell me, what were you guys talking about?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I don't remember. I forgot.
CLAUDE NIELSEN: Hideki, congratulations on a great round.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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