'I'm Fully Committed To The PGA Tour' - Hideki Matsuyama
The former Masters champion has signalled his intent to stay with the PGA Tour
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Ahead of his title defence at the ZOZO Championship, in his home country of Japan, Hideki Matsuyama has insisted he is fully committed to the PGA Tour.
"I'm a member of the PGA Tour. Never been prouder, especially last week at the Presidents Cup. Yeah, I'm fully committed to the PGA Tour, I'm a member," he said at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club.
The former Masters champion was subject to ongoing speculation throughout much of the year, with several reports linking him to a deal worth in the region of $400m to join the Greg Norman-fronted LIV Golf Series.
Matsuyama was said to be "torn between money and his legacy" at the Tiger Woods-led players meeting at the BMW Championship in August but appears committed to a future on the American circuit.
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It is understandable why the 30-year-old was a target for the Saudi-backed venture. Matsuyama is the most successful Japanese golfer in PGA Tour history, culminated by his 2021 Masters victory in which he became the first male Japanese winner of a Major championship.
More than half of the country’s televisions tuned in to watch his victory and the country’s national alert system, which is only strictly used for messages of emergency and natural disaster, sent out a notice of congratulations moments after the final putt was holed.
Given the popularity of the game in Japan and Asia, such a figure would have been instrumental in LIV Golf's ongoing quest to acquire a television broadcasting deal. Reports last month indicated the controversial venture is set to finalise a deal that will see it purchase air time for its tournaments on popular US cable channel, Fox Sports 1.
Greg Norman however, has insisted "that no one should draw any conclusions about potential media rights given that we are still in the middle of negotiations with several outlets."
LIV Golf moves from Bangkok to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, this week whilst the PGA Tour plays its first event of the season outside of American soil. The ZOZO Championship, which was first established in 2019 and the scene of Tiger Woods' record-equalling 82nd PGA Tour victory, will be competed at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Japan.
Matsuyama leads the home charge and is excited ahead of his defence: "It's great to be back as the defending champion," he said. "I've really been impressed the last couple of days. They were practice days but still lots of people came out and cheered us on, and I know there are going to be even more come Thursday and over the weekend. Hopefully I can play my best and give everyone something to root for."
James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – from tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with items from the likes of Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.
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