Genesis Invitational

Riviera Country Club

Ace alert

Hideki Matsuyama finally made his first PGA Tour ace. Can you guess how many rounds it took him?

January 25, 2024

Hideki Matsuyama plays his shot on the fourth hole during the Farmers Insurance Open.

Orlando Ramirez

When players the caliber of Hideki Matsuyama make a hole-in-one, it’s hardly a shock. But when you hear that it’s the first one in a veteran’s career—now, that raises our eyebrows a little bit.

Matusayama, the 31-year-old past Masters champion, is playing in his 247th PGA Tour event his week at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. He’s won eight times on the American tour and on another eight occasions internationally. He’s one of the sweetest iron players in his generation.

And yet, remarkably, Matsuyama hadn’t made an ace on the PGA Tour until Thursday in the Farmers’ second round. The first one may be more memorable because it came on the the eighth hole of the Torrey Pines South Course. This week, it’s playing the easiest of the four par-3s on the two-time U.S. Open track, but it doesn’t have an ideal look from the tee, with the surface of the green mostly hidden by the slight elevation from the tee.

In other words, Matsuyama may not have had the best view as his ball, striped from 165 yards, bounced a couple of times in front of the hole, checked up a little bit past and then rolled softly into the cup.

Given Hideki isn’t exactly Mr. Excitement, the celebration was happy, but subdued. Apparently, he's not the sentimental sort. When he retrieved the ball, he tossed it into the gallery without even waiting to see who caught it! ih The ace also put him well into the hunt for the tournament at eight under overall and only a couple of shots off the lead midway through the second round.

To dig a little deeper into how long it’s taken Matsuyama to get this first ace, we did a little research. In 15 years of competing in PGA Tour events, including only a handful of starts in 2011-13 when he was an amateur, Matsuyama has 854 rounds under his belt. We aren’t digging deep enough to find out exactly how many par 3s he’s played, but if we go with an estimate of four shorties per round, that’s 3,416 opportunities to make a hole-in-one.

Doesn’t it seem like we should all make an ace with that many swings?

OK, maybe not, but we’re glad Hideki has that monkey off his back.