Check Matsuyama’s results, or his bulging bank account (he has earned nearly $6 million on the PGA Tour this season) and it would seem that he has little reason to complain. He won four times in a span of six starts around the world late last season, and successfully defended his title at the Phoenix Open in a playoff in February to become the first Japanese player to have four career wins on the PGA Tour.
At the United States Open in June, Matsuyama shot a closing 66 at Erin Hills, the low round of the day, to finish tied for second with Brian Harman, four strokes behind the champion, Brooks Koepka.
That strong finish elevated Matsuyama to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, higher than any other Asian man has ever ranked.
“If I learned anything, you’ve got to put four good rounds together,” Matsuyama said of the Open, his best finish at a major. “I played two good rounds, but it wasn’t enough.”
As his world ranking improves, the expectations of his fans back home grow. Whereas other Japanese golfers had trouble dealing with the weight of an entire country hanging on their backswings, Matsuyama (so far) has been…