Hideki Matsuyama came to Augusta National a decade ago as the first Japanese amateur to ever play the Masters. He has carried the burden of a golf-crazed nation ever since, while he tallied five PGA Tour wins and four top-five finishes at majors. The 29-year-old made history Sunday as the first Japanese player to ever win a men’s golf major with his one-stroke victory over Will Zalatoris.
The history-making result should catapult Matsuyama into endorsement stardom. “Barring any career-ending injury or scandal, I’d say a Masters win is easily worth $600 million for Matsuyama,” said Bob Dorfman, a sports marketing expert at Baker Street Advertising, who figures the win is worth $20 million a year off the course and could last 30 years because of the long shelf life of golfers as pitchmen. “He’ll be an icon in his golf-mad country.”
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