By E. Michael Johnson
By Atsushi Tomura
Hideki Matsuyama avenged a disappointing fourth-place showing at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo with a PGA Tour victory on his home soil at this week’s Zozo Championship at Narashino Country Club.
For those checking the socres, it would appear Matsuyama won easily, cruising to a five-shot victory over Brendan Steele and Cameron Tringale. But the Masters champion—who shot a final-round 65—eagled the par-5 18th (his second eagle of the day, the other coming on the par-5 sixth hole) while Tringale finished bogey-bogey, leaving Matsuyama with his seventh PGA Tour title.
As he so often does, Matsuyama produced superior ball-striking over the four rounds, leading the field in greens in regulation at 81.9 percent, hitting 59 of 72 greens with his Srixon Z Forged blade irons. The muscle-back irons were CNC-milled specifically for the persnickety Matsuyama, as milling allows for a more precise shape of the blade with minimal handwork required. Matsuyama has used muscle-backs since he turned pro, preferring the greater ability to shape and flight shots over the added forgiveness afforded by a cavity-back iron. The irons are the same model he had in the bag at Augusta National for the Masters earlier this year.
A departure from his bag from the Masters is the driver. Matsuyama was using Srixon’s ZX5 model in April but since then has switched to the company’s ZX7 version, which provides a more penetrating, lower-spinning trajectory.
A different driver, perhaps, but the same result. And a perfect way to cap off a tremendous 2021 for Matsuyama.
The clubs Hideki Matsuyama used to win the 2021 Zozo Championship:
Ball: Srixon Z-Star XV
Driver: Srixon ZX7 (Graphite Design DI8 TX), 9.5 degrees
3-wood: TaylorMade SIM2, 15 degrees
5-wood: Cobra Radspeed, 17.5 degrees
Irons (4-9): Srixon Z Forged; (PW): Cleveland RTX 4
Wedges: Cleveland RTX 4 Forged prototype (52, 56, 60 degrees)
Putter: Scotty Cameron by Titleist Newport 2 GSS