Q-School Just Another Experience for Matsuo


While he was still a student in high school, Hiroshi Matsuo played in a PGA Tour event ' the 1987 Honda Classic ' on a sponsors invitation. Since then, Matsuo has earned a degree from Auburn University, spent a year on the Buy.Com Tour, and hes wracked up more than his share of life experiences.
Golfing dreams, though, havent been achieved. Not yet, anyway. He has gotten through the first stage of qualifying, and at age 33, the South Floridian may yet start his next career as a PGA Tour rookie.
In appearance alone, Matsuo is surely unique. The name, long flowing looks, and facial features may throw everybody off. But when he speaks, he is obviously totally American ' though hes Japanese-American.
Obviously, Ive got this look with this hair, said Matsuo. Im fully Japanese. My height always throws everybody off. Everybody asks me if Im a mix or not, but I am not ' I am full-blooded Japanese.
At the first stage of PGA Tour qualifying in Coral Springs, Fla., Matsuo was six shots better than any other player in the field. His 72-hole total of 18 under par included a course-record 63 in the third round at the TPC at Heron Bay.
This week was special ' obviously I had a lot of good things going and I made a lot of putts this week, he said.
Its been a great year for Matsuo. Playing on the Golden Bear Tour in South Florida, he won two events and captured his second straight money title. All the while, he balanced a second career on the side.
My father and I have a couple of restaurants in the area, in West Palm Beach and Jupiter, said Matsuo. So its been very nice for me to stay home, look over some business, and still be able to play some really good, competitive golf.
Its pretty hectic. This year has been especially hectic. We built our second (restaurant) all the way through the beginning part of this year. So day-to-day, Ive been at the construction site every day. Supposedly, I was supposed to have it done by April and have Golden Bear start by June. But I didnt get it opened until the middle of July, so I was burning it at both ends, playing competitive rounds and going straight to the construction site. So it was pretty rough for awhile there.
All the hard work paid off for Hiroshi, both on the golf course and at the new restaurant, this one flourishing in Jupiter. He took time out to show it off.
This is Matsa Sagami, said Matsuo as he took a couple of visitors through the new restaurant. This is the sushi bar area and the lounge. We have a wide assortment of house specialties here. We invented a bunch of saki toddies. Actually we have one of the larger hibachi areas in Palm Beach County.
As much as he loves the restaurant business, he would trade it all for a shot at the PGA Tour.
Ive always known that Ive had this talent, and Ive been reminded by a lot of my friends and fellow players throughout the years, Matsuo said. I always felt like I kind of under-achieved, but maybe Im getting to a mature age now. So hopefully, this will be it.