No. 14: Hideki Matsuyama
Can Presidents Cup play carry into 2016?
December 17, 2015
Look for Hideki Matsuyama to come out firing on all cylinders after an erratic fall when the determined young pro from Japan was plagued by illness and injury.
The 24-year-old tied for 17th at the Frys.com Open in his first start of the 2015-16 season but he had to withdraw prior to the start of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open when he became sick. Matsuyama rebounded well the following week, though, when he finished fifth at the CIMB Classic, shooting four rounds in the 60s.
But then came the back injury that forced him out of the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions after two rounds.
The highlight of the fall, though, was Matsuyama's performance in his second Presidents Cup. He went 2-1-1 and beat J.B. Holmes in Singles as the International Team staged a furious rally that ended one point short.
Matsuyama, who won the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide in 2014, will be seeking his second victory this season. He gave himself chances last year with a trio of top-three finishes, and he's made it to the Playoff finale each of his first two years on TOUR.
-- Helen Ross
Each day in December, PGATOUR.COM will count down our Top 30 Players to Watch in 2016, with No. 1 unveiled on Dec. 30.
SOCIAL MEDIA STATUS
Hideki Matsuyama does not have an official social media presence.
MATSUYAMA IN THE FEDEXCUP
Matsuyama will enter 2016 ranked 35th in the FedExCup standings through two starts. He'll look to get back to Atlanta for the third straight season.
PAST RESULTS: 2015 ... 16th | 2014 ... 28th
BY THE NUMBERS
Check out Matsuyama's rankings for the 2014-15 season in the strokes gained categories.
INSIGHT FROM OUR INSIDERS
PGATOUR.COM's insiders look at Hideki Matsuyama's upcoming year from their expert vantage points.
TOUR INSIDER by Brian Wacker
The last we saw Matsuyama on the PGA TOUR he was withdrawing from the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in November. It was only a sprained left ankle, however, and he should be fine. Though he didn’t win in 2014-15, the 23-year-old Japanese sensation was steady, racking up nine top 10s and missing just two cuts in 25 starts. There are very few holes in his game -- putting is the weakest part, but it has slowly improved -- and I fully expect we’ll see him in contention late on a Sunday at a major or other big tournament this year.
EQUIPMENT INSIDER by Jonathan Wall
Matsuyama's Srixon ZR-30 driver launched in 2008, making it ancient by today's equipment standards. Plays a traditional set of Srixon Z945 irons that, until recently, were an Asia-only offering. The irons feature a traditional muscle back design with a thinner top line and sole width than the cavity-back Z745.
STATS INSIDER by Charlie Kane
Matsuyama is one of the more complete players on TOUR. If there is a weakness, it's total putting (93rd) and sand saves (114th). Matsuyama excels in all-around ranking (fourth), strokes gained: tee-to-green (eighth), birdie average (eighth) and greens in regulation (21st).
STYLE INSIDER by Greg Monteforte
Whether it’s graphical prints, tonal patterns, pinstripes or energetic colors, Matsuyama consistently stands out from the crowd. At times, his kits have a bit too much contrast, but he gets points for taking risks.
FANTASY INSIDER by Rob Bolton
From our perspective, this position is exceptionally low. The 23-year-old still has just one win but he's averaged a top 10 every 3.38 cuts made. Only 15 of his career 54 paydays haven't gone for a top 25. Statistically one of the strongest and one of the busiest top performers as well. And consider that he hasn't missed a step since turning pro in 2013 all the while the fanatical Japanese media monitors his every move. He's proven to be injury-prone, but it hasn't influenced his production whatsoever.
Hideki Matsuyama uses a deft touch to hole chip shot at CIMB