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    This ‘sensible change’ gave Hideki Matsuyama ‘finest placing week of his life’

    Hideki Matsuyama

    Hideki Matsuyama hits a putt on Sunday on the 18th gap at Waialae Nation Membership.

    Getty Photographs

    Hideki Matsuyama, an hour or so after one among his early rounds eventually week’s Sony Open, was on the observe inexperienced at Waialae Nation Membership, and he was rolling putt after putt after putt from about 6 ft away. Behind the outlet was his caddie, Shota Hayafuji, who collected the balls as they got here, then tossed them again to his boss. And the method started once more. Putt after putt after putt. 

    By now, when you’ve seen or heard Sunday’s end result, you’ll be able to in all probability guess the ethical to this story fairly simply. Matsuyama, after he dropped a 3-wood from 270 out to inside 2 ft on the primary playoff gap, gained the Sony, and alongside the way in which, he made, sure, putts. Follow makes excellent, proper? You guess. However the after-hours session wasn’t a lot to sharpen because it was to erase.   

    Take into account: From 2014, Matsuyama’s first full 12 months as a professional, to earlier than the Sony, he’s completed no higher than 78th in Strokes Gained: Placing; final 12 months, he was a hundred and seventy fifth; earlier than final week, he was 205th. Put one other manner, he was hitting putt after putt after putt, too. Then got here this week, the place, for the primary time in his profession, Matsuyama led a event within the placing metric, with 7.264 strokes gained on the sector. 

    Hideki Matsuyama

    Hideki Matsuyama, behind one of the crucial unimaginable pictures you’ll see, wins Sony Open

    Nick Piastowski

    The distinction? In accordance with former participant and longtime Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, Matsuyama channeled his fellow Japanese countryman, Isao Aoki, a Corridor of Famer, multiple-time winner world wide — and the most effective putters of his era.    

    “If you happen to bear in mind Isao Aoki’s placing stroke — and he was one of many best putters of all-time — he had his palms actual low and the toe of the putter within the air. Nearly Seve-esque,” Chamblee mentioned on Golf Channel’s Golf Central on Sunday night time. “And so while you begin to take a look at the distinction between Hideki Matsuyama previously when he actually, actually has struggled on the greens, and what he was doing this week, when he arrange, his putter was not stage with the bottom. By no means. The toe was within the air. And it was actually a throwback to Iso Aoki. …

    “That toe, you wouldn’t go for a putter becoming and go away with a putter that fit your needs like that. That’s one thing {that a} participant decides to do on their very own. And by reducing your palms like that, as a result of when you elevate your palms, you’ll sort of take the wrists out of it, however when you decrease your palms like that … you’re going to have the ability to set your wrists a lot earlier. You’re going to have some play in your wrists. If you happen to elevate them, you get this arch in your wrists and also you’re not going to have as a lot hand motion. You decrease them, it’s a lot simpler to get it going like Iso Aoki. …

    “It allowed him to get somewhat bit extra play in his wrists and is a totally totally different putter from final week to this week.”

    The week earlier than, on the Match of Champions, which Matsuyama had gained entry to due to his victories eventually 12 months’s Masters and the Zozo Championship in Japan, he completed twenty seventh within the 38-man subject in SG: Placing. After Saturday’s third spherical on the Sony, Matsuyama, one of many extra reserved gamers on Tour, merely referred to as the distinction “fortunate.”

    That very properly could also be true, too. However his placing adjustment was extra than simply crossing his fingers on the membership. 

    “There’s a number of methods to get it accomplished. However when you’re struggling — look while you’re 205th in Strokes Gained: Placing, it’s time to alter as a result of clearly what you’re doing shouldn’t be working,” Chamblee mentioned on Golf Central. “So this was a superb change and that is one of the best week we’ve ever seen him. 

    “He didn’t win this week as a result of he ball-striked everybody into oblivion. He gained this week as a result of he had one of the best placing week of his life.” 

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    Nick Piastowski

    Nick Piastowski Editor

    Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at and Golf Journal. In his position, he’s answerable for enhancing, writing and creating tales throughout the golf area. And when he’s not writing about methods to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native might be taking part in the sport, hitting the ball left, proper and brief, and ingesting a chilly beer to clean away his rating. You’ll be able to attain out to him about any of those matters — his tales, his sport or his beers — at [email protected]

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