Masters champion Matsuyama receives Prime Minister’s award

Japanese golfer Hideki Matsuyama, left, presents a gift to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, right, at the Prime Minister's office in Tokyo on Friday, April 30, 2021. Matsuyama received the Prime Minister's Award in Tokyo on Friday for winning the tournament. golf Masters.  (Masanori Takei / Kyodo News via AP)

Japanese golfer Hideki Matsuyama, left, presents a gift to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, right, at the Prime Minister’s office in Tokyo on Friday, April 30, 2021. Matsuyama received the Prime Minister’s Award in Tokyo on Friday for winning the tournament. golf Masters. (Masanori Takei / Kyodo News via AP)

AP

Hideki Matsuyama received the Prime Minister’s Award in Tokyo on Friday for winning the Masters golf tournament.

He was the first Japanese winner at Augusta National, the famous American club.

Matsuyama won the amateur title at the 2011 Masters just weeks after the earthquake, tsunami and three nuclear reactor meltdowns devastated the northeastern region of Fukushima in Japan. The disaster killed around 18,000 people.

Matsuyama received the award from Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who praised him for boosting morale in Japan this time – and 10 years ago.

“You have continued to cheer on the affected areas, marking the 10th anniversary of the disaster, and you have a lot of courage,” Suga said. “While contributing greatly to the advancement of sport in Japan, it is truly remarkable to succeed in communicating the importance of effort to all and giving them dreams and hopes.”

Matsuyama said he hopes to win gold at the Tokyo Olympics this year.

Matsuyama wore the green Masters jacket during the presentation and presented the prime minister with a green tournament cap and club pin.

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