Hideki Matsuyama Makes Golf History – Ethnic Technologies Celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
Hideki Matsuyama Makes Golf History
By Amy Franz, Ethnic Technologies
29 year-old Hideki Matsuyama added an impressive new piece of fashion to his wardrobe on Sunday. The golfer made history on April 11, 2021 as the first Japanese man to win the Masters tournament and celebrated in the iconic Masters champion’s Green Jacket.
Matsuyama is no stranger to winning. He’s a five-time winner on the PGA Tour, but solidifying the number one spot at the Masters is a new level of success. “I can’t say I’m the greatest,” Matsuyama said. “However, I’m the first to win a major, and if that’s the bar, then I’ve set it.” Onomastically speaking, the golfer is a shining representative of Japan as both his given and family names are uniquely Japanese.
Tiger Woods, born Eldrick Tont Woods, is a five time winner of the Masters and extended his congratulations to Matsuyama via Twitter, saying, “Making Japan proud Hideki. Congratulations on such a huge accomplishment for you and your country. This historical @TheMasters win will impact the entire golf world.”
Matsuyama is preceded in golf history most recently by Y.E. (Yong-eun) Yang, who was the first ever male golfer to hail from Asia to win a major. The South Korean beat out Woods in the 2009 PGA Championship. Looking at Yang’s name as a whole, it exemplifies the traditional Korean naming convention of a one syllable family name paired with a two syllable given name.
Women have led the way, however, since before Matsuyama and Yang, Se-ri Pak was quite successful on the LPGA. Pak, whose surname is one of the most common Korean surnames (alternatively spelled Park or Bak), first turned heads in 1998. That year, the South Korean was crowned the champion of four LPGA tournaments, which includes two majors, at the age of 20. Pak not only influenced young women, but everyone that played and admired the sport.
After Matsuyama’s big win, he shared a special moment with his right-hand-man and caddie, Shota Hayafuji. Hayafuji retrieved the flag from the final hole, presented it to the fairway, and bowed to show respect for the famous Augusta golf course. The bow is an ancient Japanese gesture of deference turned modern greeting.