The lasting image of Hideki Matsuyama's caddie bowing to Augusta National after his boss won the green jacket? It was only "natural" for him to show his respect for the Masters Tournament.
In an interview with Garrett Johnston for the Caddie Network, Shota Hayafuji explained the reasoning for his bow after returning the flagstick to the hole on the 18th green following Matsuyama's one-shot victory over Will Zalatoris.
“My heart was full of gratitude and it was the natural thing for me to bow and show respect to the Masters,” Hayafuji said via email and through interpreter Bob Turner. “I was saying ‘Thank you very much!’”
Hayafuji added that there was little celebration that Sunday night as Matsuyama's team prepared to hop on a commercial flight the next morning from Atlanta to Tokyo through Chicago.
“We really didn’t celebrate as we were all busy packing and getting ready to go back to Japan,” Hayafuji said, before commenting on the reception upon their arrival back in Japan.
“Because of the COVID restrictions, there wasn’t anyone at the Tokyo airport when we arrived," he said, "but I was glad to see the coverage of our homecoming on TV and internet news.”