Hideki Matsuyama has the chance to usurp Jason Day as world number one with a win at this week’s Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club, California.
Strangely, the Australian said Matsuyama has “flown under the radar” despite a spate of wins in recent weeks.
“He’s been playing tremendous. He’s one of those guys that goes under the radar, no one really thinks about Hideki too much and then he’s always there.” - Jason Day
The 24-year-old Japanese sensation won the Phoenix Open last week, becoming the first player to defend the title in 42 years, which was his fifth win in nine starts.
Even if Matsuyama wins, he would need other results to go his way in order to taste the world number one ranking.
“To have a player like Jason Day say that I might be underrated is a great compliment and an honor,” he said. “But also to be able to live up to that expectation and to try to get better is a motivating factor for me.
“I did know that that is a possibility ( to become world number one) and I can’t control what Jason does this week. All I can do is go out and try my best and hopefully things will fall into place.
“It’s always been one of my goals and it would be a great goal to be able to achieve. But whether it happens this week or next or sometime in the future, I’ll just keep working hard and hopefully that will happen.”
Matsuyama joins Dustin Johnson in being able to shift Day from the top of the rankings.
The US Open winner has topped the list for 51 weeks, with world number two Rory McIlroy currently on the sidelines with a rib injury.
“It is more of a pride thing at the end of your career - you want to know how many weeks you were at number one. To get there even for one week is pretty special,” said Day.