MADISON (WKOW) -- On Sunday, April 11, 2021, Hideki Matsuyama made history becoming the first Asian male to win The Masters. The Japanese golfer's victory carried significance historically and culturally.
UW junior Riya Ahuja from India feels Matsuyama's win is empowering for all Asians.
"It definitely gives you the confidence you need," said Ahuja, commenting on the powerful win. "It basically says you can do anything that you set your mind to."
Her teammate Tracy Lee of South Korea hopes young Japanese golfers will be influenced by the historic moment.
"It'll probably spark a boom and I'm expecting Hideki to be an inspiration for a future generation of golfers," said Lee.
She also compared this potential rise to her experiences growing up and watching Korean golfers like Se-ri Pak in the LPGA.
For former Badger golfer Aya Johnson, watching the final round was a roller coaster ride. Her mother, who's from Japan and a huge Matsuyama fan, was also on the edge of her seat.
"She was texting me the whole time," said Johnson, recalling her mother's reactions. "She was so nervous. She's like your dad kicked me out of the living room. He can't handle my emotions right now."
Filipino-American freshman UW golfer Gia Feliciano recognized this as a cultural win during a time when anti-Asian sentiments continue to increase.
"People from everywhere really watch [The Masters]," said Felciano, "The fact that someone from the Asian community won it brings awareness to the issue and really shows everyone what we can really do."
Prior to Hideki Matsuyama's win, Japanese 17-year old Tsubasa Kajitani won the Augusta National Women's Amateur in a playoff.