AUGUSTA, Ga. – Hideki Matsuyama isn’t just happy to be here any longer.
The Japanese standout and first-year PGA Tour pro is out to win the 2014 Masters.
Matsuyama returns to Augusta National after a year hiatus, looking to improve on two consecutive cuts made as an amateur in 2011 and 2012 – including low-amateur status in his maiden voyage.
“Very happy to be back here at Augusta National,” said Matsuyama, No. 26 in the Official World Golf Ranking and No. 43 in the FedEx Cup race.
“But it’s not just happy to be back. Now it’s trying to win the tournament, is the goal at hand.”
Matsuyama was T-27 in 2011 and T-54 in 2012, leading him to believe that he can have success at Augusta National.
“The fairways here are wide, but it’s also a shot‑maker’s course and I feel like I have confidence in my shot‑making,” said Matsuyama. “And if that’s one of the reasons why I play well here, maybe that’s it, and I’m trying to get back there.”
Matsuyama has made an impression in his first year with full-time status on the PGA Tour, making eight of eight cuts with six top-25 finishes, including a T-3 at the Frys.com Open. He withdrew from the WGC-HSBC Champions in October and Honda Classic in February because of injuries.
But it’s the experience of this season that gives him the feeling a green jacket is not out of reach.
“Probably the biggest help with playing on the PGA Tour is being able to play with other professionals that are ranked very high in the world,” said Matsuyama. “Being able to play with them, see how they play and see the level that I need to improve to be able to keep up with them.”