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WATCH: How Hideki Matsuyama Won the WGC-Bridgestone

Hideki Matsuyama has six worldwide wins in his last 20 starts. (Photo Credit: Kyle Terada, USA Today)

For all the understandable conversation about whether Jordan Spieth or Rory McIlroy will be the player to beat in the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club this week, Hideki Matsuyama sent a simple message with his WGC-Bridgestone Invitational victory at Firestone Country Club.

He is as dangerous as anyone.

Matsuyama’s closing 61 Sunday blared like a trumpet, reinforcing the fact that when he starts holing putts, he’s nearly impossible to beat. With Quail Hollow lined with a dense trim of Bermuda rough, putting the ball in the fairway will be essential to contend at the PGA Championship.

That plays to Matsuyama’s strength. And when he putts like he did at Firestone – he entered the week ranked 180th on the PGA Tour in strokes gained putting – Matsuyama has the potential to dominate events.

“Once he gets going, he just keeps the hammer down and keeps it going. It’s very impressive,” Rory McIlroy said.

From late 2016 through the early part of this year, Matsuyama was on a tear, winning the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai and the unofficial Hero World Challenge, finishing T2 at the SBS Tournament of Champions and winning the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

The edge subsequently dulled, but only slightly. Consider his major-championship record this year: T11 at the Masters, T2 at the U.S. Open and T14 at the Open Championship.

Want to ask the question about who is the best player never to win a major? Hard to argue with Matsuyama, who is trying to become the first Japanese player to win a major.

“All I can do is my best,” Matsuyama said through an interpreter. “Others have tried from Japan. Hopefully, some day it will happen.”


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