World ranking (current/end of year)
Current 2020 Stats
FedEx Cup Rank: 10th
Top 10: 4
Top 25: 8
Made Cut: 10
Off-The-Tee: 38th (2019: 26th, 2018: 70th, 2017: 23rd)
Approach: 11th (2019: 5th, 2018: 6th, 2017: 5th)
Around The Green: 11th (2019: 12th, 2018: 60th, 2017: 16th)
Putting: 198th (2019: 97th, 2018: 78th, 2017: 167th)
Tee-To-Green: 3rd (2019: 3rd, 2018: 16th, 2017: 3rd)
Total: 16th (2019: 7th, 2018: 13th, 2017: 10th)
It is not just the world rankings which prove that the Japanese star’s game has fallen from its height in 2017. That was his finest year on the PGA Tour with three wins and three seconds from 22 starts. He’s had no win since, but so far this term he has picked up his top ten ratio so something similar to 2017. Off the Tee he’s close to what he was in 2017, Tee to Green the same, Approach a little down, Around the Green similar. Oddly, his Putting was statistically better in the two down years, but it is very down this year. As we’ll see, anecdotally he thinks he was heading in the right direction. You have to feel for him because he thrashed a brilliant opening round at THE PLAYERS (see below) only for it to count for nothing. Was he on the brink of something special? We may never know.
Grade so far: C+
Hideki Matsuyama 2020 quotes
Mexico Championship (after a second round 64 on his way to T6): “I've been hitting it really well, especially with my irons, and also my putting, I was putting really well.”
PLAYERS Championship (after an opening 63 gave him a two-shot lead ahead of the cancellation): “I didn't have the greatest warm-up this morning, but once play started I got into a good groove. I made some putts last week and that seems to be the difference of recent late.”
PLAYERS Championship (on his form this year): “I've been working hard and have a lot of confidence now in my swing.”
THE MAJORS (most recent result on the left)
The Masters: 32-19-11-7-5-MC-54-27
His first three visits were a struggle and it was actually finding the greens, rather than dealing with the swift and undulating surfaces, which challenged him (never in the top 30 for G.I.R.). He then recorded four top 20s on the bounce (every time inside the top 30 for hitting the greens), before the situation switched again: 40th for G.I.R. and 32nd on the leaderboard. He’s never gone sub-70 in 16 pre-weekend laps.
PGA Championship: 16-35-5-4-37-35-19
An impressive 7-for-7 and, even more impressively, he has been inside the top six with 18 holes to play in three of his last four tournament starts. In the last three years, however, he has always carded a 73+ at some point in the week which halts any genuine challenge for the title. Has landed 13 top 25 finishes in 19 starts in California, home to this year’s venue Harding Park.
U.S. Open: 21-16-2-MC-18-35-10
More solidity with one missed cut from seven starts and five of them T21 or better. Two of his last three R4s have been 66, no mean feat on such tough examinations, but he’s never been better than T14 heading into a final round. Has eight top 30s, six of them top 20s, from ten starts in boisterous New York and New Jersey (this year’s event is at Winged Foot).
Open Championship: MC-MC-14-MC-18-39-6
He’s logged three top 20s to complete a major record of 15 top 20s from 29 starts (52%), but he’s also missed three of the last four cuts. His poor putting reveals itself on the links (he averages over 30 putts per round).