Nov 30, 2017: The $3.5 million Hero World Challenge takes place at Albany, Bahamas for the third consecutive year from Thursday, Nov 30, through Sunday, Dec 3. The Hero World Challenge features 18 of the world’s best golfers and Sunday’s champion earns a winner’s prize of $1 million.
1. Do you think you can beat Tiger this week?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: You know, I’m not sure, but I’m going to try my best and hopefully my results will be better.
2. What are your memories as a youngster about watching Tiger, and did you dream about competing against him and do you hope to have a chance to get a piece of him if he gets back to his form?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: You know, obviously his first Masters win in ’97 left a big impression on me. Obviously before school I would turn on the TV and watch and he would always be on. He’s just one of those guys that was always on TV. Obviously to be able to be on the ?? playing in the same field with him, and I never challenged for a championship or anything with him but hopefully I’ll get that chance down the road.
3. You have the same team as last year when you won. You did this on purpose as good winning ingredient?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Obviously we won it last year together and you have a good experience and a good image of what you can do again, so that’s why we kept it the same this year.
4. Hideki, looked like you had some better results in Asia, your play was better. What did you think was missing after the PGA up until the Asia tournaments and how tough was it this year to find a replacement for your driver when that broke?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I did finish fifth in Asia but still not really ?? my shot is not where I want it to be. I think I’m starting to putt a little better and so I’m really excited for this week.
5. Can you share a few details from your round with President Trump and just maybe your thoughts on the experience?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Obviously to be able to play golf with President Trump and Prime Minister Abe, obviously you’re probably never going to get that opportunity. Obviously I was very nervous, but it was a great experience for me to be out there.
6. What is your view of golf in Asia and do you think your success can help popularize the game in Asia more?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I don’t know how much help I can be there, but hopefully being in these types of tournaments and being able to play in the final groups and stuff, to be on TV, they could watch TV and see one of their own play, maybe that’s how I can help out.
7. Hideki, you and the other young players have not had to really live in the Tiger bubble, he hasn’t been out at his best when you’ve been coming through. Are you prepared that if it does get to that sort of stage again to deal with that, and how do you think you may deal with him being the man again?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I’m sure Justin or Jordan, we haven’t seen his best of golf, but if he gets back to that point every week he’ll be the favorite and he’ll win a lot of tournaments. So I’m really excited to see what happens and also to be able to compete and hopefully get better and be right there with him.
8. Is it something he would embrace, he wants to see that? Do you want to see that happen?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Of course.
9. Two questions. The nerves you felt teeing off with Prime Minister Abe and Trump, can you compare that with any nerves you felt at a golf tournament?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Of course it’s different, a different kind of nerves, but obviously a golf round that is not a tournament, obviously that was the most nervous I’ve ever been besides tournaments.
10. Where did your first tee shot go?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Straight, but next hole I hit it in the next fairway. First one was good.
11. Last year did you find yourself getting tired last year from August onward, and if so, what was more taxing I guess is the word, was it winning so much or was it the close call at the PGA?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Obviously you get a little bit tired, but I think I was able to play normal again after the playoff, first playoff series. I was just struggling with my shot game and just trying to get back to that. I’m really working hard and hopefully work towards the next Masters at Augusta, hopefully I’ll be in the shape that I need to be in.
12. Hideki, playing with your prime minister and our president, why were you so nervous? After all, you’re a much better golfer than either one of them.
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I wonder why. I don’t know. You know, obviously the leaders of the two countries that were there, I would like to ask any of you if you guys played, if you would get nervous. I would think so.
– 2017 HERO WORLD CHALLENGE