Masters-winning caddie Shota Hayafuji provides viral moment

Hideki Matsuyama celebrates with his caddie Shota Hayafuji and The Master trophy after winning The Masters golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Hideki Matsuyama’s victory in the Masters Tournament on Sunday was historic, as he became the first Japanese-born player ever to win a men’s major.

That was, no doubt, incredibly special for his golf-crazed home country.

But it was Matsuyama’s caddie, Shota Hayafuji, who got some serious attention of his own in the moments after the victory.

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As caddies customarily do following a win, Hayafuji removed the pin-flag from the flagstick on the 18th green — his “caddie trophy” for the winning effort. But what he did next went viral on social media.

Cameras focused in on Hayafuji as he slowly walked the flagstick back to the hole. After placing it in the cup, he humbly and respectfully removed his hat and bowed to the course.

It was the kind of moment that will live in Masters history forever.

Even Matsuyama took note of how much joy his victory brought to Hayafuji:

“When the final putt went in, I really wasn’t thinking of anything,” Matsuyama said. “But then when I saw my caddie, Shota, and hugged him, I was happy for him because this is his first victory on the bag. And then it started sinking in—the joy of being a Masters champion.”

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