Can Hideki Matsuyama win a Major in 2016?March, 2016
One of golf's golden youngsters has performed admirably in the past. Will 2016 be his year?
In 2015, Hideki Matsuyama announced himself as one of the top players in the world and climbed up to 11th in the world rankings.
In the four major events, Matsuyama performed admirably, completing all 92 holes across each event. In fact, the Japanese star even finished fifth in the Masters.
But can Matsuyama bridge the gap to the world’s elite players and win a major title in 2016?
While winning a major competition is no easy feat, he’s certainly gifted enough and will fancy his chances of success this year after a promising 2015.
The first major of 2016 will be the Masters at Augusta National. Last year, Jordan Spieth romped to a record-breaking victory but Matsuyama was there or thereabouts throughout the event.
The 23-year-old finished fifth on a very respectable 11 under par and will fancy his chances of a shock victory this year.
While many believe that Spieth and Rory McIlroy will have a two-way fight for the title, Matsuyama simply cannot be dismissed and the Japanese is well priced at 33/1 via http://www,32red.com/jp/.
Given the chance, the Japan youngster could snatch victory from the top two players in the world, especially if he plays his own game and doesn’t get drawn into any mind games throughout the weekend.
Next up is the US Open. In 2015, Matsuyama didn’t exactly enjoy the tricky bunkers and surface at Chambers Bay. In fact, nobody did.
It was perhaps the most difficult event of the year and, while Spieth followed up his Masters victory with another major title, it was very tough for everybody involved.
Matsuyama struggled to a joint 18th finish, which was a little disappointing but kept him 14th in the world rankings.
Matsuyama coped with this lethal course exceptionally well and, although this year’s event will be held at Oakmont, he will take plenty of courage, confidence and heart from his efforts last summer.
While he doesn’t have a great record [at The Open], he is expected to find his best form in 2016 as he continues to mature" Why can’t the Japanese star go to the Open Championship and win the tournament? There’s absolutely no reason why he can’t.
Okay, so he hasn’t won a professional tournament in Britain but that doesn’t mean much. The Open is one of the most testing events but Matsuyama could spring a shock victory – just as Zach Johnson did in 2015.
As the summer approaches, odds are likely to change but as of late February, 32Red and NetBet are offering 40/1 on Matsuyama to win The Open.
While he doesn’t have a great record in the event, he is expected to find his best form in 2016 as he continues to mature. The Old Course at St Andrews is one of the most difficult courses in Britain and Matsuyama may be more suited to this year’s course at Royal Troon.
Finally, the PGA Championship will be the last major event of the calendar year and Matsuyama will be hoping to finish 2016 on a high.
In 2015, he laboured to three under par. Unfortunately, he never really got going and finished a respectable 37th.
In 2016, he will be desperate to improve on this finish, especially considering he produced a very disappointing two over par in the final round of this event in 2015.
It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the Japanese star go all out to succeed in this tournament and NBC analyst Peter Jacobsen believes that Matsuyama will bridge the gap to the top four players in the world this year.
Who knows, the PGA Championship could be his perfect opportunity to draw closer to the likes of Spieth, McIlroy and Jason Day…
Matsuyama made the cut in 23 of the 25 PGA Tour events that he entered in 2015. But making the cut is no longer his primary aim. His main aim is now winning trophies and competitions.
While it will be very difficult, there’s absolutely no reason why the charismatic Japanese star cannot win one of golf’s four major titles in 2016.
After all, he is one of golf’s golden youngsters and Matsuyama will be desperate to follow in Spieth’s footsteps.