Masters Winner by Year: Hideki Matsuyama Makes History at Augusta National

Hideki Matsuyama made history at The Masters on Sunday as he became the first Japanese player to win a major championship.

Exactly 10 years on since he first caught the eye at the tournament by finishing as the best amateur, the 29-year-old conquered Augusta National, becoming the first Asian player to don the famous Green Jacket.

Leading by four strokes after the first three rounds, Matsuyama carded a 1-over-par 73 on Sunday, finishing one shot ahead of American rookie Will Zalatoris and two clear of Jordan Spieth and Xander Schauffele.

Matsuyama's lead almost completely evaporated as soon as his final round began, with the 29-year-old bogeying the first hole, while Zalatoris hit back-to-back birdies on the opening two holes. One stroke, however, was as close as anyone else got to the Japanese throughout the fourth round.

Matsuyama, who started the tournament as a 60-1 outsider with some bookmakers, stretched his lead to six on the back nine and led by four by the time he approached the par-5 15th, where his quest for a Green Jacket momentarily wavered.

He walked away with a bogey, while Schauffele cut the lead to two strokes after making four consecutive birdies. The American's challenge, however, ended with a triple-bogey at the 16th, leaving Matsuyama out of reach at the top of the leaderboard.

The Japanese even had the luxury of bogeying three of the last four holes, in the process becoming the first Masters champion since Trevor Immelman in 2008 to finish with an above-par score on the Sunday.

"I'm really happy," the notoriously reserved Matsuyama said in the Butler Cabin, shortly before Dustin Johnson presented him with the Green Jacket.

"Hopefully, I'll be a pioneer and many other Japanese will follow."

Five months ago after carding a record 20-under-par 268 to win The Masters in November after the coronavirus pandemic forced the tournament to be postponed, Johnson missed the cut.

The world No. 1 opened with a first round of 72, but carded a 3-over-par 75 on Friday, which included a double-bogey and five bogeys. Johnson becomes the latest in a long list of players who have failed to win The Masters in consecutive years, a feat that only Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods have pulled off.

Nicklaus donned the Green Jacket in 1965 and 1966, respectively the second and third of his record six wins at Augusta National along with 1963, 1972, 1975 and 1986. Faldo, meanwhile, won back-to-back Masters in 1989 and 1990 and added a third Green Jacket six years later. Faldo's first two wins came in the middle of a four-year stretch during which British players dominated at Augusta, with Sandy Lyle winning in 1988 and Ian Woosnam triumphing in 1991.

Woods remains the last player to wear the Green Jacket in consecutive years after winning in 2001 and 2002.

Tiger first won The Masters in 1997 at the age of 21, becoming the youngest player to don the Green Jacket as he finished 12 strokes ahead of Tom Kite, which remains the largest margin of victory in the tournament's history.

He added a fourth Masters crown in 2005 and then secured a fifth Green Jacket two years ago, completing one of sports' most memorable comebacks.

Matsuyama's win on Sunday ends a three-year stretch of American winners at The Masters, which included Johnson and Woods over the last two years and Patrick Reed in 2018.

Masters champions since 2000

  • 2000—Vijay Singh, Fiji
  • 2001—Tiger Woods, U.S.
  • 2002—Tiger Woods, U.S.
  • 2003—Mike Weir, Canada
  • 2004—Phil Mickelson, U.S.
  • 2005—Tiger Woods, U.S.
  • 2006—Phil Mickelson, U.S.
  • 2007—Zach Johnson, U.S.
  • 2008—Trevor Immelman, South Africa
  • 2009—Angel Cabrera, Argentina
  • 2010—Phil Mickelson, U.S.
  • 2011—Charl Schwartzel, South Africa
  • 2012—Bubba Watson, U.S.
  • 2013—Adam Scott, Australia
  • 2014—Bubba Watson, U.S.
  • 2015—Jordan Spieth, U.S.
  • 2016—Danny Willett, England
  • 2017—Sergio Garcia, Spain
  • 2018—Patrick Reed, U.S.
  • 2019—Tiger Woods, U.S.
  • 2020—Dustin Johnson, U.S.
  • 2021—Hideki Matsuyama, Japan
Hideki Matsuyama
Hideki Matsuyama of Japan poses with the Masters Trophy during the Green Jacket Ceremony after winning the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11 in Augusta, Georgia. Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images