DUBLIN, Ohio (Reuters) - Adam Scott and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama may have a language barrier between them but the Australian is confident that the duo can win points together for the Internationals at this week’s Presidents Cup.
Masters champion Scott and 21-year-old Cup rookie Matsuyama have been paired for Thursday’s opening fourballs at Muirfield Village Golf Club and will take on Americans Bill Haas and Webb Simpson in the second match out.
“I think I‘m the only guy who has really played any golf with Hideki, and I played a couple of practice rounds with him earlier this year,” Scott told reporters on the final day of official practice for the biennial team competition.
”So we had some kind of knowledge of each other’s game and hey, I‘m more than happy to play with a guy who has won three times (this year) and performing the way he is.
“I think we make a strong pairing, and we are expecting to win points together.”
Matsuyama, who won the Asian Amateur title in 2010 and 2011 to qualify for the Masters the following years, turned professional in April and has triumphed three times on the 2013 Japan Golf Tour.
Richly talented, he proved he can compete with the game’s best on golf’s biggest stages, recording top-10 finishes at the U.S. Open and British Open this year.
”Obviously his record at a young age is already speaking for itself,“ said an admiring Scott, the world number two. ”Coming out of Japan, he’s won four times (overall) there. He’s performed in the big events this year when he’s left Japan.
”At 21, he’s pretty much all business at this point. I can see he works really hard at his game and I think he’s nervous and excited for this week. I‘m looking forward to playing with Hideki.
“He’s fit in pretty well in the team room this week. We’ve kept everything very loose. That’s been (captain) Nick’s (Price) idea is if you’re not in shorts and a T-shirt, then you’re overdressed, and I think that’s worked well for everyone.”
Asked how he and Matsuyama managed to communicate out on the course, Scott grinned: ”Good shot is the international language. Everyone understands that.
”And he’s playing great. He’s confident; I can see that. I‘m sure he’s going to be a little bit nervous, but you know, when he hits his first one down the middle tomorrow, he’ll be fine after that.
“We are playing better ball; it’s about going out there and playing as well as you can, and I don’t think there’s anything going to stop us with language doing that.”
Scott is competing on his sixth International team at the Presidents Cup but has never been on a winning team with the Americans having triumphed seven times in nine editions overall.
”It’s really important for the internationals to get a win,“ Scott said. ”We need to make this thing really relevant, make it a real competition, because it’s got a bit lop-sided the last few outings.
”I think we’ve got a team that can win this week, but the only way we can do it is by playing good and wanting it more than the Americans.
“The last few days have been about building our spirit and our feeling to that point where we want to get out there tomorrow and want it badly. Everyone’s coming in very determined.”
Editing by Frank Pingue