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A new era of golf has dawned in Japan with Hideki Matsuyama’s victory on Sunday at the Masters, the first major triumph by a Japanese man.

Tiger Woods, the sport’s global icon, says Matsuyama’s one-stroke win over American Will Zalatoris for the green jacket will resonate globally. “Congratulations on such a huge accomplishment for you and your country. This historical @TheMasters win will impact the entire golf world,” Woods tweeted.

Japanese fans celebrated Hideki Matsuyama’s historic Masters victory on Monday, with broadcasters close to tears and the country’s prime minister hailing the win as a bright spot during the pandemic.

2021 Masters: Hideki Matsuyama makes history with win (Final Round Recap) | CBS SPORTS HQ
2021 Masters: Hideki Matsuyama makes history with win (Final Round Recap) | CBS SPORTS HQ

Even before the winning putt dropped, the idea was already being raised, by three-times Masters champion Nick Faldo, that Matsuyama could be chosen to light the cauldron at the Olympics opening ceremony in Tokyo on July 23.

“If the schedule works out and I am in Japan when that happens and they ask me, what an honor that would be,” Matsuyama said.

But as The New York Times reports, Matsuyama is a private figure who’s unlikely to offer much tabloid fodder. Just how private became clear in 2017, when Matsuyama announced not only that he was married, but that he was also a father. “No one really asked me if I was married,” he said at the time.

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