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[ODDS and EVENS] Hideki Matsuyama Returns to Winning Form at the Genesis Invitational

Veteran golfer Hideki Matsuyama rallied to win the PGA Tour event, carding a 9-under 62 in the final round and achieving victory without back pain.



Hideki Matsuyama
Hideki Matsuyama is presented the trophy after winning the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club on February 18, 2024, in Pacific Palisades, California. (Jason Parkhurst/USA TODAY SPORTS)

Read the full story on SportsLook - [ODDS and EVENS] Hideki Matsuyama Returns to Winning Form at the Genesis Invitational

For Hideki Matsuyama, winning the Genesis Invitational on Sunday, February 18 was significant for several reasons.

As every pro golfer can tell you, winning isn't easy. Sunday's effort ― a terrific 9-under 62 performance at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California ― ended a title drought. Before Sunday, Matsuyama's most recent PGA Tour title was at the Sony Open in January 2022. 

In addition, Matsuyama became the winningest Asian-born golfer on the PGA Tour, increasing his total to nine tournament titles. South Korea's KJ Choi has eight.

What else was significant about the victory?

Matsuyama entered the final round six shots behind the leader, American Patrick Cantlay, who sat in first place after three rounds at 14-under. At that point, Matsuyama was tied for seventh at 8-under.

And then Matsuyama responded with a bogey-free final round featuring nine birdies. It included a sizzling 30 (and six birdies) on the back nine. No one else carded lower than a 65 on the pivotal final day.


Matsuyama completed the tournament at 17-under 267. Will Zalatoris and Luke List, both of whom are Americans, tied for second at 14-under 270.

For those keeping score at home, Matsuyama's payday ($4 million USD, or about ¥600 million JPY) wasn't chump change, either.

Hideki Matsuyama
Hideki Matsuyama putts on the 14th hole during the final round of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club. (Jason Parkhurst/USA TODAY SPORTS)

Two More Significant Points

Why else should Matsuyama's Genesis Invitational title be recognized as significant? 

Let me give you two reasons: 

1. It occurred a week before his 32nd birthday (February 25). So this year and in every year that follows he can always associate a happy event in the run-up to this day. 

2. Matsuyama coped with a lingering back injury in 2023. This included being forced to pull out of the BMW Championship in August. He played pain-free golf for four rounds last week at Riviera Country Club.

Hideki Matsuyama
Hideki Matsuyama, the 2024 Genesis Invitational winner. (Jason Parkhurst/USA TODAY SPORTS)

Hideki Matsuyama Reacts to Winning the Genesis Invitational

In a post-tournament news conference, the Ehime Prefecture native spoke about surpassing Choi's PGA Tour record for most victories by an Asian. He also reflected on the chronic back pain that he endured, starting in March 2022 that carried over into 2023.

"Reaching nine wins was one of my big goals, passing KJ Choi," Matsuyama was quoted as saying by The Associated Press. After my eighth win, I've been struggling with my back injury. 


"There were a lot of times when I felt I was never going to win again. I struggled reaching the top 10 (he placed in the top 10 in two tournaments in 2023), but I'm really happy that I was able to win today."

Continue reading the full story on SportsLook.


Author: Ed Odeven

Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and X (formerly Twitter) @ed_odeven

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