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Hideki Matsuyama ready to make big statement with Japan’s first major | Ewan Murray

Language barriers contribute to the world No2’s relative low profile but Matsuyama is determined to go down in history at Royal Birkdale

It should be impossible for the second-ranked golfer in the world, for a player who could create a wonderful piece of sporting history, to arrive at an Open apparently almost entirely under the radar. Add the fact Hideki Matsuyama was the joint runner-up in the last major to be played and his invisibility is even more bizarre.

There has never been a male Japanese major champion but Matsuyama’s steady rise – he is a four-times PGA Tour winner and second only to Dustin Johnson where ranking points are concerned – render him by far the nation’s best hope. Perhaps the fact he routinely chooses not to converse with the media in English impacts on the level of wider attention he receives.

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