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Current world No. 4 Hideki Matsuyama will undoubtedly play a key role in this year’s Presidents Cup, as the International Team bids to upset the odds against a very strong U.S. Team. The 25-year-old, four-time winner on the PGA TOUR will be hoping that his success in America, as well as his experience at the previous two Presidents Cups, will help the rest of the team to its first victory in the global competition since 1998. With three of his four TOUR titles won via playoffs, Matsuyama has certainly shown that he thrives on head-to-head challenges. He recently took some time away from his hectic schedule to share some thoughts about the upcoming Presidents Cup, amongst other things:
KQ: It's been approximately 18 months since the Presidents Cup was held in Korea. What is your best memory from the event?
HM: The main thing that I remember was that it was a very close game. It was very exciting to be a part of.
This will be your third Presidents Cup appearance, what have you learned from the previous two that will help you and the team?
I believe that I’m getting used to the team format and the amount of pressure on the players and captains surrounding the event. I’d like to use these previous experiences to help me and the team this year.
Having picked up six victories since 2015, you must be very pleased with your progress?
Overall, yes. But to be honest, I’m not pleased with my form of late, so I am working hard to get back to where I was earlier on this season.
What are your main goals for the rest of the year?
Simply, to win as many tournaments as I can.
Do you believe that this could be your year to win a major?
Yes. If I can bring my ‘A’ game to a major tournament, I should have a decent chance of winning one in the near future.
You seem to enjoy playing at Augusta, with your last three results being 5th, 7th and 11th. Would this be the one major that you would most like to win?
The Masters is without a doubt one of my favorite events on the calendar, but every tournament is very important for me to try and perform well in.
It's an exciting time for golf in Asia, with the addition of THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES in Korea to PGA TOUR schedule. Are you hopeful that there will be a PGA TOUR event in Japan soon?
Yes, I would like to see that happen. I believe it will help grow the game in Japan.
It's still a few years away, but representing Japan at Tokyo 2020 must have crossed your mind?
Yes, I would love to compete at the Tokyo Olympics and represent my home country Japan. But first I will have to make sure that I qualify!
Which golfer did you look up to when growing up and why?
Tiger Woods. I don’t think you need a reason for that answer!!
Out of curiosity, are you planning on improving your English knowledge in the future?
I understand the importance of English, but I do not plan on committing to improving it any time soon. I am learning day by day on the PGA TOUR, which is very much an English-speaking environment.
Are you still operating your 'Birdies for Charity' foundation?
Yes, the Birdies for Charity Foundation is a continuous effort. It will take many years for the Japanese people to recover from the recent earthquake and tsunami disasters. Although the charity is not big, I believe it is important to make an effort to help out.
You mentioned in our 2015 interview that you wanted to win the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Since then you have won it twice! How satisfying were these victories?
To win it in 2016 was a great feeling, but this year was even better, as I was able to successfully defend my title.
What advice would you offer up to the next generation of golfers?
Never lose your passion for golf. Keep loving what you love, even though there will undoubtedly be tough times to face.
The international Team will be the underdogs at Liberty National later this year. What do you feel is the key factor to upsetting the odds?
Determination and commitment will be key factors, since we are going to be the underdogs.
So you are ready to face the New York crowd and determined to silence them?
Yes, I will make sure that I will be well prepared!
Finally, what excites you the most about this Presidents Cup?
Well, I’d really like our team to win on U.S. soil and I will make every effort to contribute as much as I possibly can to the team.
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