Hideki Matsuyama not pleased with Zozo performance, but fans pushed him to win
Despite Hideki Matsuyama carding two eagles en route to winning the Zozo Championship by five shots as the hometown hero, he wasn’t satisfied with his overall performance, but the crowd gave him the push he needed.
After Matsuyama won the Masters in April, he rated his performance a 10 out of 10, but when asked to grade his first win since his groundbreaking achievement in Augusta, the 29-year-old was much more modest.
“I would rate my performance as two or three,” Matsuyama said after his round Sunday. “From the results perspective, it went about to eight, but I think it’s because all the energy that I was getting from the fans and I was very surprised how much energy I was feeding off of them.”
A reporter then asked the seven-time Tour winner for clarification on that answer, thinking they may have misunderstood Matsuyama’s rating, but they didn’t.
“Yes, that’s how I honestly felt,” he said. “My confidence was around one or two, but thanks to all the Japanese crowd out there, I was able to feed off of their energy and play well.”
Matsuyama’s final day playing partner, Cameron Tringale, sensed that Matsuyama didn’t feel right during his round, but witnessed firsthand how the fans had an effect on the outcome.
“He seemed a little off just based off watching his reactions and things to shots, but he hung in there,” Tringale said. “The crowd loved him. He’s very focused, pretty stoic and it ended up working out for him.”
Matsuyama felt the weight of his country on his shoulders while trying to close out the win, especially after failing to do so in the final round of the 2019 Zozo Championship against Tiger Woods. But this time, he was able to use the energy from the fans to get past the finish line.
“I was the only Japanese player contending and was up on the leaderboard,” he said. “To be honest, there were some pressures to deal with, but I’m glad I was able to convert that to positives.”