Lesson : Matsuyama Wins The Masters

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Hideki Matsuyama won his first major in US men's golf, the Masters Tournament (Augusta National GC, Georgia, USA) on his 10th try.  He has won his sixth US tour, and his first win in four years since August 2017.

Matsuyama smiled shyly, something that he never showed on the course, as he put on the "green jacket" that every golfer dreams of. This major victory, which will be deeply etched into the history of Japanese golf, was not a coincidence for Matsuyama, but a result that could be called inevitable.

Matsuyama began careful preparations for the Masters last year. One key move was to obtain the strong backing of golf equipment manufacturers.  Among professional golfers, Matsuyama has a sharper sense than anyone else. Matsuyama was uncomfortable with the idea of changing his equipment or playing environment.  He put his gut instinct above all else.

In August of last year, Matsuyama decided to change his driver, which was critical for success on the long fairways at Augusta, from a familiar overseas brand to a domestic brand that he contracted to have made. The new driver is able to satisfy Matsuyama's requirements for distance, so it matches Matsuyama's vision of what he wanted out of the club.

Matsuyama had been pursuing a club that works in Augusta. For some time, he used many generic drivers from a number of manufacturers. Srixon, with which Matsuyama has a contract, offered new products that met all of Matsuyama's performance requirements.  Mr. Toshiya Adachi (53) of Sumitomo Rubber Industries, who has known Matsuyama since he was an amateur, recalls, "The point is whether you can swing with the image you envisioned when you hold it. Finally, what Matsuyama as a professional has found is something that satisfies his vision."

He put it into action at the Masters last fall and the driver became a weapon again this year. Matsuyama said in an interview after the victory, "I think the biggest reason for winning is that my 18th tee shot hit the fairway." At the final hole, the competition was two strokes behind.  Having reliable clubs eased the pressure of possibly being caught from behind.

And another preparation was the new staff who joined Matsuyama's support team. Until now, Matsuyama had received advice, but never received training from a specific coach. Matsuyama, who has the pride that he knows what is best for himself, created his own swing. However, since August 2017, he has not had any tour wins, and so has begun to feel the limits of pursuing his ideal swing on his own.

In 2019, he replaced his exclusive caddy, and at the end of last year, he signed a coaching contract with Hidenori Mezawa, who had experience teaching female professionals and had excellent analytical skills. "I thought I was right too much.  Now I am moving in the right direction with an objective viewpoint," Matsuyama said.  Adachi points out the change and said, "He used to do everything himself, but by changing a few key things, the stress disappeared and he could create an environment where he can concentrate only on playing golf these last few years."

The inevitability brought about by Matsuyama's careful preparation was the victory at the Masters. [Takashi Wada]



Vocabulary Flash Card Drill

etch     (きざ)
  • The memory of the Giant's baseball world championship will be forever etched into the hearts of their fans.  
  • ジャイアンツの野球世界選手権は、ファンの心に永遠に刻み込まれます。
inevitability     必然(ひつぜん)(せい)
  • With the troop buildup on the border, the apparent inevitability of war has the citizens very worried.  
  • 国境に軍隊が集結する中、戦争の必然性は市民を非常に心配させています。
envision     想像(そうぞう)する
  • Because Trump was such a polarizing figure, I never envisioned him as President.  
  • トランプはそのような二極化した人物だったので、私は彼を大統領として想像したことはありませんでした。
inevitable     ()けられない
  • His rise to the top of the company was inevitable, considering the chairman is his father.  
  • 会長が父親であることを考えると、彼が会社のトップに立つことは避けられなかった。
viewpoint     観点(かんてん)
  • His viewpoint on the matter changed dramatically over time.  
  • この問題に関する彼の見方は、時間とともに劇的に変化しました。
exclusive     排他(はいた)(てき)
  • The country club I belong to is very exclusive. You basically have to be rich to join.  
  • 私が所属するカントリークラブはとても排他的です。基本的にあなたは加入するためには金持ちでなければなりません。

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