Hideki Matsuyama is the International team's answer to Jordan Spieth. Matsuyama, a 21 year old Japanese phenom, enters the week with much less acclaim than Spieth because he's played most of his golf overseas in Japan. But he's already demonstrated the talent and ability to perform on the biggest stages in the game, and might be just as good, or better, than Spieth.
Matsuyama really came on the world golf radar this summer when he went back-to-back with two top 10 finishes at the U.S. Open and British Open. He's is the only Asian golfer on the team this year and he'll lean heavily on assistant captain Shigeki Maruyama, perhaps the best Japanese golfer ever. Matsuyama dominated the Asian amateur circuit, and then immediately found success after turning pro this April. He previously made two cuts at Augusta competing on an amateur exemption, and then showed well (even with a bogus penalty at the British) at all three subsequent majors this summer as a pro (T10, T6, T19).
He also hung in at the WGC-Bridgestone in August for a T21 finish after being paired with Tiger Woods for the first two rounds. There's limited sample size to go on, but while Ryo Ishikawa has gotten all hype the past five years, it's Matsuyama that looks to be the next great Japanese star.
Matsuyama may become a cornerstone for this International team over the next decade, but it's hard to predict what he'll deliver this week in his first team match play competition. He's already shown he can hang in the biggest, most intense events so maybe the relatively low expectations give him an opportunity to fly under the radar and knock off some unsuspecting American teams. Of the seven International rookies, he may be the best option to pick up some points for captain Nick Price.
World Ranking: 30
Qualified: Automatic spot No. 6 of 10
Presidents Cup Match Play Record: This is his debut.