This article is part of our Weekly Recap series.
All golfers on a professional tour face pressure. Heck, all professional athletes face pressure. But American golfers/athletes will never know the pressures faced by Japanese athletes competing at the highest levels. Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui, for example, had Japanese media contingents following their every move in baseball, as they do these days for Shohei Ohtani. They are front-page news back home.
The same goes for Hideki Matsuyama.
Imagine what these athletes face when returning home to compete. That pressure is ratcheted up exponentially.
So the fact that Matsuyama was runner-up at the 2019 ZOZO event, just missed a bronze medal at the recent Tokyo Olympics and now on Sunday won the 2021 ZOZO Championship cannot be understated.
The final leaderboard will say that Matsuyama won by five strokes over Cameron Tringale and Brendan Steele, but this was no cakewalk; this tournament was tied with four holes to go before Matsuyama birdied and delivered a dagger eagle on 18 while Tringale bogeyed twice.
You could say the pressure was even greater and even more eyes were on Matsuyama since he did his homeland proud by becoming the first Japanese golfer to win the Masters back in April.
"First, I was the only Japanese player contending and was up on the leaderboard," Matsuyama told reporters in Japan. "To be honest, there were some pressures to deal with, but I'm glad I was able to convert that to positives."
It was the seventh career PGA Tour win for Matsuyama, who