Curtains came down on The Masters yesterday as the 85th tournament held at Augusta minted a brand new owner of the green jacket. Here are five stats that stood out:
Matsuyama is the first player from Asia to win the Masters
After shooting 73 to finish 10-under 278 and claim the green jacket at Augusta, Hideki Matsuyama became the first Japanese male player to win the Masters. He also became the second Asian man to win a major title following in the footsteps of South Korea’s Yang Yong-eun who won the 2009 PGA championship. No Japanese player had ever finished in better than fourth position at Augusta. Only Japanese lady golfers had fared better in majors following Hinako Shibuno’s British Open 2019 title and Chako Higuchi’s triumph 1977 LPGA championship win. Last week, Tsubasa Kajitani won the Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship. Matsuyama’s victory has sent the golf-mad nation into a frenzy and the 29 year old has now set sights on winning the gold medal at the delayed Olympics in Tokyo later this year.
Hideki Matsuyama became the sixth first-time Master winner in the last seven years to clinch the title before winning a Major. Only Dustin Johnson (2020) and Tiger Woods had tasted victory at a Major(s) prior to donning the green jacket at Augusta. He also became the seventh golfer to win a Green Jacket after being Low Amateur, a feat that had only been previously achieved by Cary Middlecoff, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Crenshaw, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia. Matsuyama first played at Augusta in 2011 as an amateur and finished T27.
Zalatoris tames the Augusta National course
The Augusta National course was set to provide a challenge to the elite pros. Besides the firm greens, the fickle winds provided drama as the world’s best players struggled to adapt to the tough conditions. Debutant Will Zalatoris was the only player in the 88-man field who managed to break par in all the four rounds at Augusta. The Masters rookie shot 70-68-71-70 to finish runner-up at 9-under 279 one stroke behind Hideki Matsuyama. He narrowly missed to match the 41 year old record set by Fuzzy Zoeller who became the first player to win the Masters in his debut in 1979.
The Masters is the second highest lucrative tournament in the majors with a purse of USD 11.5 million- close Kshs 1.25 billion. All the professional players taking part in the tournament are entitled to some earnings with those who fail to make the cut going home USD 10,000 richer. With the winner entitled to 18% of the purse, Hideki Matsuyama pocketed a cool USD 2.07 million- Kshs 225 million while the runner-up Will Zalatoris went home USD 1.242 million- Kshs 135 million richer. Jordan Spieth and Xander Schauffele in T3 earned USD 667K – Kshs 72 million each for the four days’ work at Augusta.
World Golf Ranking movements
Hideki Matsuyama, Will Zalatoris and Jordan Spieth are the biggest movers on the World Golf Ranking chart this week following their exploits at The Masters. Matsuyama went 11 places up to break into the top 20 at position 14 while Zalatoris had the biggest shift, moving up 19 places to position 27, two places ahead of Jordan Spieth who moved nine places north to 29. Matsuyama’s best ranking came in 2017 when he became world No. 2 after finishing in the top-five at the U.S. Open and PGA Championship that year. Spieth occupied the top slot in 2015 for a total of 26 weeks. Zalatoris is charging up the charts after starting off in position 2006 in 2019.
Eagles and Birdies fest
Hideki Matsuyama made the highest number of Eagles at Augusta this week managing three over the four rounds. This was one eagle shy of the tournament record of four currently held by Tiger Woods (2010), Dustin Johnson (2009) and Bruce Crampton (1974). Despite finishing a distant T12, Robert MacIntyre recorded the most birdies managing 21 over the four rounds this week. Jordan Spieth holds the record of the highest birdies recorded in the tournament by an individual player after making 28 in 2015.
The Masters action was relayed in Kenya live on DStv, the pay TV channel owned by MultiChoice Focus now shifts to the remaining majors- US Open, US PGA and The Open which will be held in May, June and July respectively.
“DStv is happy to have brought all the Masters golfing action to our viewers in Kenya. Golf fans in Kenya will continue to access high definition video entertainment at their convenience. We look forward to delivering the three remaining Majors and select international events on the PGA and European Tours,” said Philip Wahome, Corporate Affairs Manager, MultiChoice Kenya.