Japan is a country which has embraced golf for decades. Just over four decades ago, Japanese golfer Isao Aoki engaged the legendary Jack Nicklaus in a memorable battle at the 1980 U.S. Open. It seemed unlikely that Japan would have to wait 41 years to crown a major golf champion, but the moment finally arrived on Sunday in Augusta. Hideki Matsuyama won the Masters, becoming Japan's first major title-holder.

This Masters title is a career-altering, life-changing event for the Japanese professional, who earns instant superstar status in his native country. 

Matsuyama began the final round of the 2021 Masters at 11 under par, owning a four-shot lead over a group of pursuers. None of those pursuers were able to shoot a round in the 60s, which enabled Matsuyama to win despite a shaky back nine and a final-round score of 73.

Will Zalatoris came the closest to Matsuyama at The Masters, shooting a two-under par 70 to finish in sole possession of second place at nine under par for the tournament.

Xander Schauffele had the best chance to swipe The Masters from Matsuyama's grasp. He was at 10 under par heading into the par-3 16th hole, but he took an overly aggressive line to the green and was 10 yards short of his target. Missing left at 16 at Augusta National carries a massive price: the water. Schauffele posted a triple-bogey six and fell out of contention.

Matsuyama entered the 18th hole with a two-shot lead at The Masters. He didn't need to post a low score on the hole, so a shaky second shot which found the bunker — followed by a missed five-foot par putt — didn't hurt him. He tapped in a bogey for the win, making instant history in Japan and winning generations of fans in Asia and around the world.

One can expect that Matsuyama, after this Masters triumph, will light the Olympic flame at the 2021 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, which were delayed due to the pandemic but are expected to be held this coming summer.