WiretoWire: Hideki Matsuyama's Hawaiian heroics at Waialae
January 17, 2022
By Staff , PGATOUR.COM
- January 17, 2022
Hideki Matsuyama’s Round 4 winning highlights from the Sony Open
Thirty-nine years ago, Isao Aoki became Japan’s first PGA TOUR winner at the Sony Open in Hawaii, holing out for eagle on the 72nd hole to earn a one-stroke victory over Jack Renner. Sunday afternoon at Waialae CC, Aoki’s countryman Hideki Matsuyama became Japan’s second Sony Open winner in perhaps not as theatrical fashion, but with a memorable closing stretch nonetheless. Matsuyama trailed playing partner Russell Henley by five strokes as they made the turn Sunday afternoon in Honolulu, and the reigning Masters champion methodically chipped away at the deficit, authoring a 4-under 31 including a closing birdie to match Henley’s 23-under total and force a playoff. Matsuyama, 29, then hit 3-wood from 277 yards to 3 feet on the first playoff hole – Waialae’s par-5 18th – en route to a winning eagle, sending the lively Honolulu crowd into a frenzy. With the victory, Matsuyama matches 2008 Sony Open winner K.J. Choi for his eighth PGA TOUR title, most by an Asian-born player on TOUR. He earns 500 FedExCup points and overtakes Talor Gooch for the No. 1 spot in the season-long standings, well positioned to chase his first FedExCup title. He’ll cherish the piece of history that he now shares with Aoki, as well. “This is the first tournament that a Japanese won on the PGA TOUR when Isao Aoki won here,” Matsuyama said shortly after putting out for the winning eagle. “And to follow him up, I’m over the moon.”
Last season’s FedExCup champion, Patrick Cantlay, world No. 1 Jon Rahm and tournament host Phil Mickelson lead the field to La Quinta, California, for The American Express. Si Woo Kim returns to defend the title he won over Cantlay, who shot a course-record 61 in the final round a year ago to finish runner-up. A number of top players will make their 2022 debut including reigning Rookie of the Year Will Zalatoris, Francesco Molinari, Gary Woodland, Alex Noren and Rickie Fowler who tees it up for the first time since becoming a father in November. The American Express will once again be played over three courses – PGA West (Stadium Course), La Quinta Country Club and PGA West (Nicklaus Tournament Course) – after utilizing just two last year for the first time in tournament history. There are 500 FedExCup points up for grabs as well as a spot in THE PLAYERS and majors for the week’s champion.
Two dozen PGA TOUR players have signed on to participate in a new Netflix series from the producers of the super popular “Formula 1: Drive to Survive” documentary. The PGA TOUR and the organizers of the four major championships will allow unprecedented access inside the ropes and behind the scenes through this season’s TOUR Championship. The series will capture the intensity of training, travel, victory, and defeat through the lens of a diverse group of players and their support teams.
VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Jim Furyk's amazing hole-in-one on No. 17 at Sony Open
Jim Furyk makes an incredible ace in the first round of the Sony Open in Hawaii.
“A true professional, Tim always treated our organization and our athletes fairly,” PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan on the passing of respected golf journalist Tim Rosaforte. “Writing and speaking with an opinion but without an agenda. He never stopped working the phones, ensuring that he not only got the story first, he got the story right. Those phone calls – and Tim’s gentle spirit – will be missed tremendously by all of us lucky enough to be part of the greater golf community.
BY THE NUMBERS
4 - PGA TOUR LIVE on ESPN+ kicks off in earnest this week at The American Express, with four streams available for fans from Featured Groups to Featured Holes.
10 - The new Korn Ferry Tour season began on Sunday with The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic. Check out ten players to watch over the next three rounds.
COMCAST BUSINESS TOUR TOP 10
This Week Name Points 1. Hideki Matsuyama 1,153 2. Talor Gooch 930 3. Sam Burns 776 4. Cameron Smith 731 5. Sungjae Im 718 6. Viktor Hovland 581 7. Max Homa 573 8. Jason Kokrak 573 9. Lucas Herbert 519 10. Matthew Wolff 511
The Comcast Business TOUR TOP 10 highlights and rewards the extraordinary level of play required to earn a spot in the TOP 10 at the conclusion of the FedExCup Regular Season as determined by the FedExCup standings. The competition recognizes and awards the most elite in golf.