Hideki Matsuyama has been the most consistent player in golf. He’ll have a great opportunity to win his first major at the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow.
After a dominating performance at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Hideki Matsuyama is ready for the next big crown. A major championship.
There has been nobody more consistent in golf this season than Matsuyama, who’s racked up three wins and three runner-ups, including a big one at the U.S. Open. In all, he has had a whopping nine top-25 finishes.
Certainly, Jordan Spieth has had a great season, as he builds his legendary status, but Matsuyama has lived towards the top of the leaderboard all year like he owns it. The only other person who has been almost as consistent is Charley Hoffman, who has six top-10 finishes but no wins.
What makes Matsuyama so deadly, is his iron play. He ranks 10th in the world in greens in regulation. He proved this dead-eye accuracy with an amazing approach shot on the 18th at Firestone, which set him up for his winning putt.
Not only is he a terrific iron player, he’s a birdie and eagle machine. He ranks third in birdie average and sixth in eagles.
Quail Hollow seems like the perfect course, which requires the player to get creative on certain holes. It’s not a course you can tackle with brute force like some, and Matsuyama has the right play style for it, heading into the PGA Championship.
It’s easy for us to pick the person who won most recently or who won the previous major, to win the upcoming major. However, this is Matsuyama’s time, as he’s playing the best golf of his life.
Not to mention, his stellar play at the U.S. Open could’ve given him his first major at Erin Hills. As we know, Brooks Koepka played scorching hot golf to grab his first.
Matsuyama could be a perfect fit to tame Quail Hollow’s “Green Mile”
What makes the PGA Championship so fun, is how unpredictable it is, as well as the courses that are being played. Quail Hollow’s deadly final three holes are known as the “Green Mile” and they feature quite a bit of intimidating water.
Matsuyama can hit it as straight as anybody, and he will more than likely dazzle fans with his
approach shots on that dreadful stretch of holes. If there is a weakness in the 25-year old’s game, it’s his putting, ranking 180th in Strokes Gained on the greens.
There is nothing that can kill you more than three-putts or worse. However, Matsuyama does rank 40th in one-putt percentage, so when he heats up, he can roll it in from anywhere on the green. There’s a lot of timing there, but he can be a sniper when he’s feeling it.
The new Bermuda greens could play soft with rains, or hard and fast with the North Carolina heat, making things a bit tricky. Add to that the numerous pesky breaks players will face, and Matsuyama’s skill with the putter could be the difference-maker.
All in all, there’s no question that Matsuyama has gotten hot at the perfect time, and it will serve him well going into the season’s final major. If he does win it at Quail Hollow, he will be the first Japanese player to ever win a major. It would just be another awesome piece of history in our great game’s chapter book.
So, how do you like Hideki Matsuyama’s chances heading into the PGA Championship? Who else do you like?