As he rose to become Japan’s top male golfer, Hideki Matsuyama has done his best to avoid the attention lavished on every move of other high-profile Japanese athletes. But with his dramatic win at the Masters, the glare of fame will be inescapable, The New York Times reports.
On Wednesday, Matsuyama said the significance of becoming the first golfer from Japan to win a men’s major title has been sinking in. As Kaz Nagatsuka reports, the win is expected to boost the sport in Japan, and some golf shops and courses are already feeling a “Matsuyama effect.”
The JT Editorial Board, however, hopes Japan will celebrate his win and then give Matsuyama some room to breathe. Shielded from the crushing weight of his nation’s expectations, last week’s win may prove to be the beginning of his resurgence rather than the capstone of a career, they write.
Moving from the links to the rink, another national sports hero, Yuzuru Hanyu, found himself in the now-familiar No. 2 spot behind American Nathan Chen on two consecutive nights at the World Team Trophy in Osaka — on Friday in the short program and Saturday in the free skate.
But the weekend belonged to the Russians, who came away with their first-ever World Team Trophy from the six-nation meet, in large part due to Anna Shcherbakova’s wins in both the free and short programs. Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto came in second in the free skate.
Shcherbakova, 17, gave Japan’s antivirus measures the thumbs-up, adding, “We were so happy because we had a Russian flag here, and that means a lot.” At Tokyo 2020, Russians will have to compete under the acronym ROC and won’t be able to use the anthem or flag, as part of doping punishments.