AUGUSTA, GEORGIA | Twelve years ago, former Augusta National chairman Billy Payne and his green-jacketed associates broke protocol and took their famous garments off campus to Asia on a mission to “create heroes.”
“I would say without doubt or equivocation that the green jacket doesn’t need a lot of interpretation anywhere in the world,” Payne said.
With the creation of what was originally called the Asian Amateur Championship, Payne believed the lure of that jacket and what it represents would inspire a new generation of champions from a continent that, as yet, had never won a major.
“One of these kids will show up at Augusta during the Masters and three or four years from now one of them is going to make the cut,” Payne said. “Then hopefully through time it will end up in the desired result.”
It only took two years before one of those kids named Hideki Matsuyama won consecutive Asian Amateurs, and in 2011 he showed up to make the cut at Augusta National and win low amateur. Ten years later, Matusyama completed that desir...
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