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Reigning Masters champ wishes he’d worn green jacket more in past year

Hideki Matsuyama
Hideki Matsuyama(AP)
Published: Apr. 5, 2022 at 9:24 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Reigning Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama says he’s recovering well from recent injuries and expected to be at 100% when Masters competition begins later this week.

He spoke at Augusta National Golf Club during an interview with reporters on Tuesday morning.

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Reflecting on the past year as a champion, he said, “It’s been a great year. It’s great to be back here in Augusta. I’m very proud to be here as defending champion.”

The past couple of last couple of weeks have been a struggle, he said.

“Hopefully, though, I can find my game and be a good defending champion,” he said.

Hideki Matsuyama
Hideki Matsuyama(Augusta National Golf Club)

He said his initial injury was suffered at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in the second round, and since then, it’s been a struggle. He’s had a lot of treatment, but last week he had a flare-up at the Valero Texas Open. He said he was pain-free and feeling really good but woke up last Wednesday morning and his neck was stiff again.

But he’s feeling good now.

He said he was on the practice range this morning, “and really felt good -- probably the best I’ve felt in a long time. I’m looking forward to Thursday and hopefully will be up to 100% by then.”

Asked if there’s a distinctive style of golf in Japan that gave him an edge last year in the Masters, he said: “Golf is golf. It doesn’t matter what country you play it in. What it comes down to is just getting the ball in the hole. I don’t feel like there’s a big difference between Japan and the U.S.”

Hideki Matsuyama practices this week at Augusta National Golf Club ahead of the Masters.
Hideki Matsuyama practices this week at Augusta National Golf Club ahead of the Masters.(WRDW/WAGT)

He was asked about his green jacket from last year’s Masters and whether he’s worn it a lot or had it dry-cleaned.

He said he thought about having it dry-cleaned, but, “I didn’t want to let it out of my sight.”

He added: “I’ve spent the last year looking at it a lot. I don’t wear it much, just look at it, and now I wish I’d worn it more.”

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