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Hideki Matsuyama says quarantine in Japan allowed Masters victory to sink in

TORONTO — Hideki Matsuyama said on Tuesday that the two-week coronavirus quarantine he underwent upon his return to Japan after his Masters triumph last month allowed him a chance to absorb the magnitude of his momentous victory.

Matsuyama, making his much-anticipated return to action at this week’s Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) Tour event in Texas, said being in quarantine freed him up to read probably every newspaper and magazine story about him becoming the first Japanese man to win a major.

“Seeing how the Masters win was portrayed in Japan was great, really unforgettable, and that really stands out for my trip back to Japan,” Matsuyama said ahead of this week’s AT&T Byron Nelson.

Matsuyama said he only wore the Masters champion’s Green Jacket twice while in Japan, once during a news conference and the other time when he met Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to receive an award.

Matsuyama, who was already followed by a huge media contingent, said he is not used to all the attention he has received since his one-shot Masters victory.

“I realize now the responsibility that goes with a major championship, especially the Masters,” said Matsuyama. “I’m honored. I’m flattered by the added attention, but at the same time, sometimes it’s difficult to say no.

“But it goes with the territory and, again, grateful that I have this opportunity and I’ll try my best to prepare well for what’s to come.”

Matsuyama, whose best finish in two appearances at the AT&T Byron Nelson is a share of 16th place in 2018, said he barely picked up a golf club while in Japan.

World number 15 Matsuyama said his focus for this week is getting back into form ahead of the year’s second major — the May 20-23 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island Resort’s Ocean Course in South Carolina.

“I didn’t get to practice very much at all,” said Matsuyama. “And then coming back here, and I’m just, really one of my goals now is just to try to find my game again and prepare for the PGA Championship next week.” — Reuters

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