There are certain things golf fans have come to expect when they watch tour coverage. Tiger Woods wearing red on Sunday, Kevin Na walking in putts, and Jordan Spieth talking to his golf ball. A lot.
But in recent years perhaps no golfer has been more associated with a signature move more than Hideki Matsuyama. The 2021 Masters champ gets to the top of his backswing and makes a pronounced pause before starting the downswing and, usually, hitting a perfect shot. Even if he doesn’t react like it’s perfect.
But in a video shared on Wednesday, Matsuyama is seen hitting a driver with no such pause in his swing. And the results are pretty eye-popping.
The video comes from Eddie Fernandes, AKA “Fast Eddie,” a 51-year-old World Long Drive competitor who earlier this month shared another clip of him hitting a 393-yard drive. Apparently, Fast Eddie is working with Matsuyama on increasing his swing speed, and although the Japanese star isn’t quite ready to enter long drive contests yet, this is pretty darn impressive:
First of all, it’s good to see Matsuyama is healthy after withdrawing from the 3M Open with a wrist injury after an opening 77 last Thursday. But we’re here to talk about those numbers. A 191.4-mph ball speed and a 131.4-mph club speed is really moving it. And he knows it. “Best ball speed,” Matsuyama declares in the video. Yep, that’s some serious speed, Hideki.
To put it in perspective, Matsuyama’s average club head speed on the PGA Tour this season is 115.64. Which ranks him 84th, or about one mph faster than the tour average of 114.46.
Cameron Champ leads the tour with a 124.77 average. Champ also leads the tour in driving distance at 319.7 yards per poke. So imagine what Hideki, who currently averages 305.6 yards off the tee, could do swing at 131.4 mph? And how much faster he could get if this was really his first speed session?
We already saw Matt Fitzpatrick make huge gains in this area this year, leading to his US Open title last month. And, of course, Bryson DeChambeau made his own kind of gains ahead of winning the 2020 US Open.
Might Matsuyama be the next player to add distance to win that Major? And might he do it by losing his signature pause? We’ll have to wait and see.