Forget off-colour Rory McIlroy or multi-coloured Ricky Fowler, golf has a new kid on the block and that’s Japan’s 21-year-old sensation Hideki Matsuyama.
Having shot from 159th to 33rd in the world in just over six months, it’s no wonder golf is taking note of this young man, who rose to prominence as the leading amateur at the Masters in 2011.
The PGA Championship will be only his fourth recognised event on either tour this year, but having followed up a 10th-place finish at the U.S Open in June, with sixth-place at one of golf’s most testing courses in the British Open at Muirfield, you can’t ignore him to post another top-10 finish at Oakhill.
If Matsuyama can survive the dogged rough and glass greens of Muirfield, then 6/1 on the young star bagging another top-ten at the PGA Championship, is a punt waiting to be sunk into the middle of the cup.
Matsuyama is reaping the rewards for a magnificent start to the year on his native Tour of Japan where his first two wins as a professional player set the wheels in motion towards stardom.
Two other runners-up finishes in Japan ensured his rankings were sufficiently low to be invited to contest the 113th edition of the U.S Open at Merion and he hasn’t looked back.
At last month’s British Open and again at the recent Bridgestone Invitational Matsuyama was paired with Tiger Woods and simply took it in his stride that he was playing alongside the sport’s most iconic figure.
This youthful exuberance and carefree attitude can be such an important factor when you look at far more seasoned pros choking at the Majors so frequently.
Matsuyama’s stock is so high at present that although he has no official PGA Tour card, he’s just been granted exemption to join the field at the prestigious Wyndham Championship which follows these championships.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.