Friday, October 22News That Matters

Tag: Masters Golf Tournament

Ready or Not, Hideki Matsuyama Is Now a National Hero in Japan

Ready or Not, Hideki Matsuyama Is Now a National Hero in Japan

Sports
TOKYO — Hideki Matsuyama has never been a fan of the spotlight. Even as he rose to become Japan’s most successful male golfer, he did his best to avoid the attention lavished on the every move of other Japanese athletes who have shined on the global stage.But with his win on Sunday at the Masters in Augusta, Ga., the glare will now be inescapable. His victory, the first by a Japanese man in one of golf’s major championships, is the fulfillment of a long-held ambition for the country, and it guarantees that he will be feted as a national hero, with the adoration and scrutiny that follows.Japan is a nation of avid golfers, and the game’s status as the sport of choice for the Western business and political elite has given it a special resonance. Success in sports has long been a critical gaug...
Hideki Matsuyama of Japan Is the First Asian-Born Winner of the Masters

Hideki Matsuyama of Japan Is the First Asian-Born Winner of the Masters

Sports
AUGUSTA, Ga. — Hideki Matsuyama’s first swing in the final round of the 85th Masters was an unsightly banana-shaped slice that would have looked familiar on the nerve-racking first tee of any golf course in the world.Matsuyama, who entered Sunday’s fourth round with a four-shot lead, had not slept much Saturday night, and the walk Sunday afternoon from the practice range to the golf course was more disquieting.“When I got to the first tee it hit me,” Matsuyama said. “I was really nervous.”But Matsuyama hunted down his wayward opening drive in the left woods and decisively chose an intrepid course, smashing his ball from a bed of wispy pine straw through a slender gap between two trees. Matsuyama’s caddie, Shota Hayafuji, yelped, “Woo,” which elicited a toothy grin from the typically undemo...
Hideki Matsuyama Charges Into the Lead at the Masters

Hideki Matsuyama Charges Into the Lead at the Masters

Sports
AUGUSTA, Ga. — The third round of the Masters tournament began Saturday with a gusting wind that bedeviled the field and seemed to make the firm, already crusty Augusta National Golf Club greens more parched, speedy and vexing.Then, just before 4 p.m., a rainstorm with the potential for thunder and lightning sent the golfers scurrying to the safety of the clubhouse. After a 78-minute suspension of play, players returned to a golf course that was far more forgiving with dampened, significantly slower greens. The wind had all but disappeared.Sensing the reprieve, many in the field attacked.Leading the charge was Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, who shot a sparkling 65 by playing his final eight holes in six under par. At 11 under par for the tournament, Matsuyama, 29, will take an authoritative fo...
At the Masters, Justin Rose Is an Outlier, and Establishes an Early Lead

At the Masters, Justin Rose Is an Outlier, and Establishes an Early Lead

Sports
AUGUSTA, Ga. — A golf course does not have feelings.Or does it?It would be the easiest way to explain the revenge Augusta National Golf Club exacted on the field in the first round of the Masters tournament on Thursday, after the course was routed by many of the same players last year.Five months ago in November, a month when Augusta National is typically just waking from a good slumber, the world’s best golfers arrived to play the 2020 Masters, which was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. The course was somnolent and unprepared, especially since it got good and sloshed by rain the night before the event began.Golf’s elite took no pity on the venerable, if vulnerable, aristocrat of major championship golf courses. Dustin Johnson’s winning score of 20 under par was a tournament record, an...
How to Grip a Putter: 9 Ways the Pros Use

How to Grip a Putter: 9 Ways the Pros Use

Sports
AUGUSTA, Ga. — Accurate putting is widely considered the most pivotal golf skill, and the most intractable. While golfers generally hold their clubs the same way for a full swing, when it comes to rolling a little white ball into a hole roughly four inches wide, even the best players in the world contort their hands and arms into exotic grips to calm their nerves and foster consistency.Here are nine ways that top golfers at this week’s Masters Tournament try to solve the eternal puzzle of putting:Lee WestwoodThe ClawCredit...Doug Mills/The New York TimesLee Westwood: The ClawPopularized about 25 years ago, the claw grip, in right-handed golfers, features a right hand that does not merge with a stabilizing left hand at the top of the putter, as was done in conventional grips for decades. Th...
The Masters Is Business as Usual as Georgia Faces a Political Onslaught

The Masters Is Business as Usual as Georgia Faces a Political Onslaught

Sports
AUGUSTA, Ga. — Georgia and its new elections law are caught up in a political riptide.But there’s scant evidence of that on and around the grounds of Augusta National Golf Club, where the state’s most cherished sporting event, the Masters, begins play on Thursday. There are no protests along Washington Road. There are only limited calls in Georgia, even among the law’s fiercest critics, to upend a springtime ritual at a club that stands on what was once an indigo plantation and did not admit a Black member until 1990.Indeed, even after Major League Baseball chose to move its All-Star Game from Georgia to protest the law that restricts access to voting, there was little doubt that the Masters would go on as planned this week — a reflection of golf’s Republican lean, but also of Augusta Nati...
Bryson DeChambeau’s Work Evolving Golf Is Not Done Yet

Bryson DeChambeau’s Work Evolving Golf Is Not Done Yet

Sports
Like any good performer who wants to keep his audience guessing, DeChambeau would say only so much about the new arrow in his quiver.“Obviously there’s something in the bag this week that’s very helpful — I won’t go into specifics of it,” he said. “But just know this has been a few years in the making, and I’m very excited for it. Whether it helps me perform at a higher level, I’m not sure, because it’s golf and you never know what happens.”But when asked which Augusta National holes he might approach differently because of distance he has gained off the tee, DeChambeau started talking about flying a drive over the trees on the right of the first hole, then started ticking off other possible targets. In a matter of seconds, he had mentioned five additional holes that might be vulnerable.De...
Without Tiger Woods, the 2021 Masters Leaderboard Is Wide Open

Without Tiger Woods, the 2021 Masters Leaderboard Is Wide Open

Sports
AUGUSTA, Ga. — The Masters Tournament, after an aberrant autumn appearance five months ago, returns this week to its customary place as a ritual of spring, and golf fans will find familiar the sight of vibrant azalea bushes and blooming magnolia trees. But beyond aesthetics at the Augusta National Golf Club, this year’s Masters may be at a crossroads, when golf’s most tradition-bound event turns a new page.Slightly more than a year ago, the energy driving the golf world was a fervent zeal to watch Tiger Woods defend his seismic 2019 Masters victory. Now, the next chapter of the Tiger era at the Masters remains wholly undefined. Because of the serious leg injuries he sustained in a February car crash, Woods will not compete at the Masters, something that has happened three times since 2014....
No Longer a ‘Tigress,’ Amari Avery Will Try to Make Augusta Roar

No Longer a ‘Tigress,’ Amari Avery Will Try to Make Augusta Roar

Sports
It’s been eight years since Amari Avery made her first “splash” — her word — in golf. A 2013 Netflix documentary on elite grade school golfers introduced an 8-year-old Avery cruising her Riverside, Calif., street on her bike, pink handlebar streamers blowing in the wind, as Notorious B.I.G.’s “Going Back to Cali” blared in the background.What “The Short Game” showed came to define the perception of Avery on the junior golf circuit. Much of the documentary centered on how her dad, Andre, had appointed her “Tigress” after she won a junior world championship at 6 years old and was trying to navigate the expensive territory of junior golf by following Earl Woods’s handling of Tiger. Amari’s story arc in the film ends with both her and her father in tears after a disappointing finish at the Uni...