Hideki Matsuyama Reveals ‘Cell Phone’ Games Motivated Him to Take the Lead at the 2021 Masters

Published 04/11/2021, 5:07 AM EDT
Golf – The Masters – Augusta National Golf Club – Augusta, Georgia, U.S. – April 10, 2021 Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama acknowledges the crowd after holing his eagle putt on the 15th green during the third round REUTERS/Mike Segar


The conclusion of Round 3 at the 2021 Masters saw a new player emerging atop the leaderboard. It was a historic moment of all sorts for Hideki Matsuyama, who became the first Japanese golfer to lead after any round at the Augusta National. However, the manner through which he gained motivation to go out and take the lead is quite comical! 

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Round 3 began on a bright Saturday morning at Augusta National. However, it wasn’t until 1:30 p.m. ET that Hideki Matsuyama teed off alongside Xander Schauffele. Matsuyama began his third round at the 2021 Masters in a solid fashion, but the rain soon played spoilsport.

Hideki Matsuyama reveals what motivated him to perform better after the rain delay

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Dangerous weather caused more than a one-hour delay at the 2021 Masters. Round 3 participants had to take a break from playing and the players went to their respective comfort spots to take a break. 

For Matsuyama, his car was the place where he found a genuine sense of tranquility. The Japanese player slid into his car and found comfort when the rain stopped play during the third round. Moreover, that’s when Matsuyama found a sense of awakening! 

Golf – The Masters – Augusta National Golf Club – Augusta, Georgia, U.S. – April 10, 2021 Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama hits his tee shot on the 17th hole during the third round REUTERS/Mike Segar

“Nothing really special. Played a lot of games on the cell phone,” Matsuyama said through interpreter Bob Turner when asked about what he was doing during the rain delay. However, he followed up this statement with a detailed response soon after. 

“To answer the first question, during the rain delay, or right before the rain delay, I probably hit the worst shot I’ve hit this week. And after — during the rain delay, I just figured, I can’t hit anything worse than that. And so maybe it relieved some pressure, I don’t know, but I did hit it well coming in after the delay,” Matsuyama mentioned. 

Coming back after the break, Matsuyama made wonderful strokes on the 15th, 16th, and 17th holes. He made an eagle on the par-5 15th and followed it up with two consecutive birdies on the 16th and the 17th. 

History is in favor of Matsuyama as he leads the field into the final round 

25 of the past 30 Masters champions have come from the final pairing on Sunday. This is indeed a positive factor as Hideki Matsuyama and Xander Schauffele will be the last players to tee off in Round 4 on Sunday. 

Furthermore, Matsuyama tremendously improved his game after making a slow start at the 2021 Masters. He shot a -4 in the first 42 holes and then went -7 in his last 12 holes. The Japanese player also made the first bogey free-round at the 2021 Masters with his 7-under 65 in Round 3. 

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Hideki Matsuyama admitted that he’s not been in the greatest form over the last few years, but the Japanese player is determined to make a strong comeback. He’s poised to win the 2021 Masters ahead of the final round and wants to capitalize on the situation. 

Matsuyama (-11) is four strokes ahead of the second-placed golfers. He would be feeling the pressure, but only time will tell if Matsuyama will become the first men’s Japanese golfer to win a Major.

Read Also: Dustin Johnson Racks Up Embarrassing Records After Missing the Cut at the 2021 Masters

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Arjun Athreya

1816 articles

Arjun Athreya is a senior writer at Essentially Sports and has been contributing since early 2020. Having developed an avid interest in sports at an early age, he pursued a Journalism degree and graduated from Madras Christian College. Arjun manages the Golf division and its content, and primarily covers news pertaining to the NBA as well.

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