Language no barrier for Matsuyama

2017-09-27 07:01
Hideki Matsuyama (Getty)

Jersey City - Hideki Matsuyama's English still isn't great, but when it comes to communicating with his International Presidents Cup team-mates he hopes winning translates into any language.

The 25-year-old Japanese star is the highest-ranked player on the International team at number three in the world.

He'll be teeing up in a third Presidents Cup when the Internationals take on the United States in the biennial match play competition, which the Americans have dominated with nine wins in 11 prior editions to one for the Internationals and one draw.

Despite the language barrier, International team captain Nick Price said Matsuyama's experience had made him a valuable contributor in the team room as well as on the course.

"He's certainly come out of his shell," Price said. "He takes a ribbing from all of us. He really can take a joke and he can dish it out, too. He doesn't say whole lot, but when he does it's very funny."

"It's been what, four years since my first Presidents Cup," said Matsuyama said through his interpreter. "I still haven't learned enough English to communicate well with my team-mates, but I can communicate.

"They're my team-mates, my brothers. I'm looking forward to winning the Cup with them this year."

Matsuyama went into the PGA Tour's season-ending FedEx Cup series atop the playoff standings but missed the cut at the Northern Trust, tied for 23rd at the Dell Championship, finished 47th at the BMW Championship and was 26th at the Tour Championship.

It was a disappointing playoff run for a player whose season started in spectacular style, with a victory in the World Golf Championships HSBC Champions last October.

He successfully defended his Phoenix Open title and added the WGC Bridgestone crown to his resume in August, and contended at the PGA Championship before faltering in a bid for a first major trophy.

Price is confident Matsuyama can shake off any late-season fatigue as the Internationals vie to claim the Cup for just the second time.

"Obviously he's pretty tired," Price said. "He started playing great at the end of last year, so it's been an 11-month, 10-month stretch."

Price noted that Matsuyama produced five birdies on the back nine at East Lake on Sunday as he closed out the Tour Championship, a sign that the Japanese star has plenty left in the tank.

"He finished with a flourish on Sunday," Price said "So I think he was looking forward to this week. I think this was a lot of pressure on him to perform in the FedEx Cup and his game wasn't maybe quite where he wanted it.

"But I have no reservation. He's one of those guys that's going to rise to the occasion."

In two prior Presidents Cup appearances, in 2013 and 2014, Matsuyama has compiled a record of three wins, four defeats and two halved matches.

Although he's enjoying the team experience, Matsuyama said it didn't offer any respite from the pressures of individual play.

"Actually playing in individual events is much less pressure, because I want to do well for my team-mates," he said.

Read more on:    presidents cup  |  hideki matsuyama  |  golf


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