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Golf: Japanese star Matsuyama joins Els, Wie at IMG

Hideki Matsuyama, Asia’s top-ranked golfer, has joined Ernie Els and Michelle Wie at IMG. Photo: Getty Images.

Hideki Matsuyama, Asia’s top-ranked golfer, has joined Ernie Els and Michelle Wie at IMG. Photo: Getty Images.

January 6, 2015: World No. 16 Hideki Matsuyama has signed with IMG – acquired by WME last year – for worldwide management and marketing representation. Route American Sports previously managed the Japanese No. 1.

 

Matsuyama, 22, has six pro victories worldwide, comprising five on the Japan Tour and last year’s playoff win at the Memorial Tournament on the PGA Tour.

 

Before turning professional, Matsuyama won the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in 2010 and 2011, each time earning a trip to Augusta National Golf Club to play the Masters Tournament. He earned low amateur honours at the Masters in 2011 and reached No. 1 on the World Amateur Golf Ranking in 2012.

 

Matsuyama said he now hopes to follow in the footsteps of IMG stablemates Arnold Palmer, Ernie Els, Charl Schwartzel, Jason Dufner and Michelle Wie by winning a major.

 

“I’m excited to join the IMG family,” Matsuyama said. “I believe that the global resources provided by IMG and WME will help me achieve my goal of winning a major. Hopefully one day, I will be worthy of being named in the same breath as the game’s greatest champions who built their careers with IMG.”

 

In 2013, Matsuyama became the first rookie to win the Japan Tour money title. He joined the US-based PGA Tour the same year via special exemption after earning more than US$770,000 in six starts, including two top-10 finishes in majors.

 

Guy Kinnings of IMG said: “We are absolutely thrilled to begin working with Hideki across all aspects of his business. IMG has a long history of representing the best international players in the game and we look forward to working with our partners at WME to build Hideki’s brand globally.”

 

IMG is a global leader in sports, fashion and media, and operates in more than 25 countries around the world.

 

Source: IMG (www.img.com); Editing by SportAsia

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