Hideki Matsuyama gets first PGA Tour win at the Memorial

06.01.14 na matsuyama

Hideki Matsuyama was able to defeat Kevin Na with a par on the first playoff hole at Muirfield Village to claim his first PGA Tour victory at the 2014 Memorial Tournament.

What Happened

Bubba Watson carried a one-shot lead into Sunday over Scott Langley, but a host of quality players lurked closely behind the final group, including Matsuyama, Adam Scott, Jordan Spieth and Charl Schwartzel. Matsuyama quickly climbed up the board and was near the top with Watson for most of the day, while Na was able to get into the clubhouse at 13-under par after firing an 8-under 64 in his final round. With Watson and Matsuyama at 15-under par going to the last five holes, it looked impossible for Na, but all of a sudden, the wheels started to fall off.

Matsuyama found the water on the par-3 16th, leading to a double bogey. After a bogey on 14, Watson, in the group behind Matsuyama, sent his drive way right on the 15th, to the point where it actually landed out of bounds in someone’s backyard. He then inexplicably laid up from 256 yards out and made a double bogey to fall down to 12-under. Matsuyama bogeyed the 17th as well, and all of a sudden, it looked possible that Na was not only going to win, but he wouldn’t even need a playoff to do it.

Matsuyama followed the bogey by slipping on the 18th tee and breaking his driver, but he still managed to find the fairway. Needing a birdie to force a playoff with Na, Matsuyama stepped up and did this:

06.01.14 matsuyama approach 18

He would step up and make the putt, becoming the first player in tournament history to birdie the 18th on all four days of the event, and when Bubba couldn’t make a birdie, we had a two-man playoff between Matsuyama and Na. On a day where all of the unexpected things were happening, sure enough, we had a crazy finish.

Matsuyama, opting not to replace his broken driver, went with 3-wood off the tee and slipped again. He ended up in the right fairway bunker, and looked to be at an immediate disadvantage, but Na stepped up and sent his ball left into the creek. The advantage went back to Matsuyama, who after hitting a spectator, was able to get back onto the green for his par attempt and a chance to win his first PGA Tour event.

06.01.14 matsuyama final putt

Final Leaderboard

  • 1. Hideki Matsuyama -13 *wins in playoff*
  • 2. Kevin Na -13
  • 3. Bubba Watson -12
  • T4. Adam Scott -10
  • T4. Chris Kirk -10

What The Win Means For Matsuyama

It’s tough to say that this has been a long time coming considering that he’s just 22 years old, but Matsuyama has actually been close to winning a few times recently and really, this was just a matter of time. His ball striking was phenomenal on Sunday, and even though he started to leak a little bit on the way in, he was able to hit that tremendous approach into 18 and hit some pretty big putts to close the deal. Sure, he had some fortune land his way with Bubba looking awful over the last four holes and getting to play someone in a playoff who hadn’t hit a competitive shot in over two hours, but you can only play the hand that you’re dealt.

For some time, I’ve talked about how much of the focus from golf fans has been on Jordan Spieth as the game’s next big star. Spieth is incredible and will be around for a very long time, but Matsuyama and players like Matteo Manassero deserve more attention than they’ve been getting to this point, and this will help Matsuyama in that regard. The first win is always the most important one, and it’s no different for Matsuyama, who will now be exempt on the PGA Tour for the next two seasons, and his spot is now guaranteed in next year’s Masters.

The win moves him from 24th to 13th in the Official World Golf Rankings, and he’ll take home north of $1 million.

Phil’s FBI/SEC Investigation

In case you missed it, Phil Mickelson and two others are being investigated by the FBI and SEC for insider trading. Phil was approached by a pair of investigators at some point after the second round, but even though this is the first we’re hearing of this, apparently the investigation has been ongoing for the better part of two years. Phil obviously won’t be saying much, but he says he’s been cooperating fully with the investigation and that he’s done nothing wrong. He didn’t play the way he would have wanted to this week, but we all know what he’s looking forward to, and with Pinehurst in two weeks and this investigation having gone on for two years, I doubt that this has had or will have any bearing on his performance going forward.

In terms of what this means for him going forward, obviously it’s a big deal if he’s found to have done something, but until we know for sure there’s no reason to speculate. He’s off to Pinehurst for the next two days before heading to Memphis to play in the FedEx St. Jude next week.

Other Notes

  • Notables to miss the cut: Rickie Fowler, Tim Clark, Mike Weir, Steven Bowditch, Justin Rose, Russell Henley, Matt Every and Vijay Singh.
  • Other notable finishes: Steve Stricker (T6), Thorbjorn Olesen, Charl Schwartzel and Bill Haas (T8), Paul Casey (T13), Matt Kuchar, Rory McIlroy and Billy Horschel (T15), Jim Furyk, Jason Dufner, Ernie Els, Ryan Moore and Jordan Spieth (T19), Hunter Mahan and Kevin Stadler (T28), Marc Leishman, Keegan Bradley and Jason Day (T37), Dustin Johnson (T46), Phil Mickelson and Luke Donald (T49), Nick Watney (T55), Gary Woodland (T57) and J.B. Holmes (T75).
  • Injury report:
  1. Stuart Appleby (WD – back): Appleby withdrew prior to Friday’s second round with a back problem, giving him two WD’s on the season after doing so at Mayakoba. If he’s able, he’ll try and play next week at the FedEx St. Jude Classic.
  • On Rory’s week: As incredible as the 63 was to watch, the 78 was the exact opposite and even though his scoring average has always been higher in the second round, you have to be concerned about the knee and how it’s affecting him right now. Still though, he looks just fine heading into Pinehurst.
  • I don’t think I’ve ever been as confused while watching a tournament as I was when watching Bubba lay up on 15 today.
  • Sneaky little T6 from Steve Stricker, who I barely saw on the coverage all week. He’s an intriguing option for Tom Watson at Gleneagles if he’s playing a little better.
  • Tough position for Scott Langley today, who shot 79 and didn’t really seem like he ever had much of a chance in a final group against Bubba. He’ll be back.
  • Thongchai Jaidee also won this morning in Sweden, taking out Victor Dubuisson and Stephen Gallacher in a playoff at the Nordea Masters.
Advertisements

One Comment on “Hideki Matsuyama gets first PGA Tour win at the Memorial

  1. Pingback: The Golfer Watchability Index: Part 5 | AdamSarson.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: