Olympics-Golf-Matsuyama hopes his best after COVID-19 recovery

FILE PHOTO: Jun 16, 2021; San Diego, California, USA; Hideki Matsuyama plays his shot from the 15th tee during a practice round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

TOKYO (Reuters) - Asia's first Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama was not sure he would be able to compete at the Tokyo Olympics in his home country when he tested positive for COVID-19, but now he has recovered he hopes to add another medal for Team Japan.

Matsuyama tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month and withdrew from the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit and went into quarantine for about 10 days. The Olympic golf event will be his first competition after recovering.

"When I got tested positive for COVID-19 three weeks ago, I wasn't really sure if I was able to participate in the Olympics here," the Japanese world No. 20 confessed in a press conference on Tuesday.

"During that time, I was unable to practice. Once I got back to Japan, I started practicing. So in terms of preparations, it started with a little bit delay but hopefully I will be able to prepare well today and tomorrow," he said through interpreters.

The event will take place at Kasumigaseki Country Club in Kawagoe City, Saitama. The club is one of the most prestigious clubs in Japan, founded in 1929. It is where Matsuyama won Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in 2010 and booked his first ticket to the Masters.

"Kasumigaseki has been a place for me to progress and growth, so hopefully I could do the same thing this week and move on to another level," he said.

(reporting by Toshiki Hashimoto; Editing by Michael Perry)

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