Presidents Cup: What's wrong with Hideki Matsuyama?

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Presidents Cup: What's wrong with Hideki Matsuyama?

PGA Tour

Presidents Cup: What's wrong with Hideki Matsuyama?

JERSEY CITY, N.J. – When it was revealed that Hideki Matsuyama broke his trusty driver during the week of the BMW Championship, suddenly the World No. 3’s struggles made some sense. But clearly there is something more off with the International star as he’s failed to earn a full point in two matches so far at the 12th Presidents Cup.

“I wish I knew why I haven’t been playing well,” a dejected Matsuyama said Friday evening after he and Adam Hadwin surrendered a late lead and allowed Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed to come away with a half point.

Matsuyama gave International captain Nick Price a little more.

“You know, I spoke to him this evening, and he just said, ‘My timing’s off,'” Price said. “That’s all he said to me, ‘My timing’s off.'”

After Matsuyama teamed with Charl Schwartzel and got routed by Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas, 6 and 4, on Thursday, Price asked the 25-year-old who he’d like to play with in Friday’s four-ball session. Matsuyama chose Hadwin, and early on it looked like the right choice; Matsuyama made three birdies on the front nine to give he and Hadwin a 2-up advantage after eight holes.

But then Matsuyama’s troubles resurfaced. He chunked an iron from 210 yards out into the water at the par-5 ninth. He hit wayward drives at Nos. 12 and 13 to knock himself out of those holes.

“He said, ‘You know, Adam played great today, and I kind of felt like I let him down a little bit because I hit a lot of loose shots and left him on his own a lot,'” Price said. “And he said, ‘I’m just not playing well.’

“And when a player tells you that, he’s basically telling you: ‘Sit me out tomorrow.’ That’s what we decided to do.”

Whether or not Matsuyama returns for Saturday afternoon’s four-balls remains to be seen. But clearly Matsuyama’s confidence is shaken. He’s not the same player he was when he won three times at the start of the season, or when he captured the WGC-Bridgestone this summer, or when he nearly won the PGA Championship.

Blame it on the driver. Blame it on something else. But with the Americans leading 8-2 after Day 2 at Liberty National, the Internationals can’t afford to lose many more points.

So Hideki will sit and hope he figures things out soon.

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