Hideki Matsuyama was ranked 18th in the world after the BMW Championship ended on September 11th. Almost three months later he is ranked sixth in the world behind arguably the greatest group of golfers on the planet at this very moment in Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson, and Jordan Spieth.
He’s done this by going on an absolutely ridiculous run over the last six tournaments he’s played in.
Matsuyama finished a six-under fifth at the Tour Championship (September 22-25) behind winner Rory McIlroy, who posted a 12-under score and won in a three-man playoff over Ryan Moore and Kevin Chappell, and fourth place finisher Paul Casey.
Matsuyama then played in the Japan Open (October 13th-16th), which he won by three strokes over Kyounghoon Lee and Yuta Ikeda. That win moved him from 18th in the rankings all the way up to 13th in the world rankings.
Matsuyama’s next tournament was the CIMB Classic which took place a week after the Japan Open (October 20th-23rd), and unfortunately he was only able to finish second behind defending champion Justin Thomas.
Up three more spots to 10th in the world.
That’s an impressive three tournament stretch, but it was really just the start for Matsuyama, who was about to prove that he deserves some major respect from the field.
Matsuyama blew everyone away in the WGC-HSBC Champions (October 27th-30th), finishing at 23-under and a solid seven strokes ahead of Henrik Stenson and Daniel Berger at 16-under.
Up to sixth!
And just like that, Matsuyama is now not only inside the top 10, but is closing in on the top five.
The Japanese sensation with a pause at the top of his back swing and who poses better than anyone else on Tour on his follow through, wasn’t done yet.
Matsuyama played in the Mitsui Sumitomo VISA Taiheiyo Masters in Japan (November 10th-13th). He managed to repeat his WGC-HSBC performance and finished seven strokes ahead of the field.
That brings us to Matsuyama’s latest tournament, the Hero World Challenge. While Hideki wasn’t the main attraction because Tiger Woods was making his return to the sport after a 15 month absence, he once again proved that he is the hottest golfer on the planet right now by finishing at 18-under, two strokes over Henrik Stenson, for a fourth win in five starts. It was his fourth win over a span of 53 days.
Yes, you read that correctly, 24-year-old Hideki Matsuyama has won four tournaments in less than two months and is now on the heels of fifth place ranked Jordan Spieth in the world rankings.
So what’s next for Matsuyama? He had a career best finish in a major in July when he tied for fourth, and now has his sights set on the Masters.
"“Starting next week all my focus and preparation will be for the Masters. Hopefully, along the way I can play well on the PGA Tour, but the Masters is my next goal.”"
He’s proven he can play with the big boys and finished tied for seventh at Augusta earlier this year, there’s no reason to believe he won’t be able to replicate this early season success and I, hot take alert, highly expect him to not only contend for a major in 2017, but win one.
The title has been updated to reflect the mistake I made describing how close Hideki is to Jordan Spieth in the world rankings. I did not realize the word was offensive and am truly sorry for the mistake.