After sleepless night, golf-mad Japan celebrates Matsuyama’s Masters triumph -- Apr 12
TOKYO — There will be a few bleary eyes in corporate Japan on Monday morning. In this golf-crazy nation, it's hard to underestimate the impact of Hideki Matsuyama's historic Masters triumph and impossible to count the hours of lost sleep it entailed.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga called the victory an “amazing feat.”

It was also the first time a Japanese man had won any of golf’s majors, and the pressure must have been enormous as Matsuyama began his final round on Sunday. In the end, he shot a 1-over round of 73 to win the tournament by one stroke over Will Zalatoris.

“Matsuyama is still young, so I have even greater hopes for him in the future,” Suga told reporters. “With the prolonged covid-19 pandemic, he’s given courage and inspiration to all Japanese people.”

A decade ago, a teenage Matsuyama had been the lowest-scoring amateur at the 2011 Masters. His honor then was a welcome ray of light in Japan’s recovery from the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, that left more than 22,000 people dead or missing.

The golfer had been in Australia at the time, but had returned home to find his accommodation at Tohoku Fukushi University destroyed and the nation gripped in grief. Unsure whether he should even compete in Augusta in 2011 or stay home and help with recovery efforts, his parents, his university and his teammates persuaded him to go.

A decade later, his Masters triumph brought back those memories. -