HIDEKI Matsuyama will be Asia’s best hope at the PGA Championship this week.
The 29-year-old Japan player won the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club last month and will receive due recognition for that as he attempts to add to his first Major.
With six PGA Tour wins, among them the Masters and two World Golf Championship events, and eight on the Japan Golf Tour, Matsuyama has got momentum going for him as he heads to Kiawah Island Golf Resort, keen on adding to his tally.
Another of those laid-back players with the demeanour of a silent assassin, Matsuyama is a hugely popular global star, particularly in this part of the world.
A triumph for the soft-spoken Matsuyama, who really did not do much out there over the last three seasons or so before turning Augusta National upside down, would be another big boost for this region.
An outside pick at Kiawah Island might be South African Garrick Higgo.
This Johannesburg-born lad won two and finished eighth in three European Tour events on the Canary Islands over a three-week span that culminated with the Canary Islands Championship title last Sunday.
Higgo, who turned 22 on Wednesday, remarkably emerged with a 68-under aggregate for those events.
To say that he will not be short on confidence would be understatement. But how he actually performs in his maiden Major championship debut is another story.
My guess is he will hold his own with the “big boys” and his name will be bandied around for a long time to come.
Another of the young guns who will quietly fancy his chances is Viktor Hovland.
The 23-year-old Norwegian had two successive ties for third-place on Tour over the last two weeks.
His game is obviously in good nick and he will be brimming with confidence as he endeavours to continue to make his mark on the US PGA Tour.
Since his victory at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in December, Hovland has also had four other top-5s, including two runner-up places.