Pro Golfer's Secrets: Hideki Matsuyama
Hideki Matsuyama is a Japanese professional golfer born in Ehime, Japan in 1992. Matsuyama picked up golf early in life from his father, earning a scholarship to Tohoku Fukushi University in Sendai, Japan. While at University, Matsuyama earned a reputation as one of Asia's most gifted amateur golfers, winning the 2010 and 2011 Asian Amateur Championship. This allowed him to compete in the 2011 Masters where he would win the Silver Cup, an award presented to the lowest scoring amateur at the Masters. Matsuyama would end 2012 ranked as the top amateur in golf, and made the decision to turn professional in 2013.
Matsuyama began his professional career on the Japan Golf Tour, where he earned five wins in a rookie season that also included a top-10 finish at the 2013 U.S. Open. His amazing freshman season allowed Matsuyama to qualify for the 2014 PGA Tour based on his earnings in seven previous PGA Tour events as a non-member. Matsuyama would win his first PGA Tour event at the 2014 Memorial Tournament and finish the season in the top-30 of the FedEx Cup Standings. 2015 saw Matsuyama complete his then highest-ever finish in a major when he finished a respectable fifth place at the 2015 Masters, but no wins occurred during his 2015 season.
This would be rectified in 2016 as Matsuyama would win the Waste Management Phoenix Open and WGC-HSBC Champions, in addition to the non-PGA Tour Japan Open. 2017 proved even better, as Matsuyama won three titles, including defending his Waste Management Phoenix Open title, and finished second at the 2017 U.S. Open. Overall, Matsuyama has five PGA Tour and eight Japan Tour wins, and has consistently maintained a top-10 Official World Golf Ranking for the past several seasons.
What's in Hideki Matsuyama's bag?
Hideki Matsuyama is unique in using a variety of clubmakers to fill out his winning bag. The following are the clubs Matsuyama used to win the 2017 WGC-Bridgestone Invitation:
For his driver, Matsuyama uses the Callaway Great Big Bertha (9.0 degree loft). His fairway wood is a TaylorMade 2017 M2 (15 degree) and a Honma TW727 U19 (18 degree) hybrid. He uses the Srixon Z 945 irons (4-PW) and three Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Precision Forged wedges (52, 56 and 60 degrees). Matsuyama uses a TaylorMade TP Collection Mullen putter and a Srixon Z-Star XV ball.
Hideki Matsuyama's Tips for Chipping
Matsuyama is known for his accuracy in chipping. He routinely have some of the best numbers on the Tour, and improving your short game is an easy way to shave strokes off of your score. Matsuyama recommends keeping a slightly tilted eye line to ensure your right side, including your shoulder, is slightly slanted toward the ball. Then Matsuyama advises golfers to try and keep the clubface level on your chip. Never rotate your right hand over your left, as this will lead to a short shot and likely a large divot.
The goal is to have chipped the ball with a high trajectory to encourage a soft landing on the green. By keeping your right wrist straight, the left wrist is forced to bend creating a better angle to create this high flight pattern. Lastly, Matsuyama advises to keep your knees flexed during your swing. This ensures that you will not either sink down or bob up during your swing, something that would sabotage an otherwise good swing.