Tournament article

Mitsui Sumitomo VISA Taiheiyo Masters 2019

Tatsunori Nukaga aims to defend his Champion title at Taiheiyo Masters

The Defending Champion for this tournament Tatsunori Nukaga is known as one of the long hitter on Tour and was given a nickname as "Japanese Brooks Koepka" by Toru Taniguchi.

He has been achieving many long drive titles as amateur and after his Pro debut in 2002, all eyes were on his big drives. His win last year was hi first Tour victory. He was in the field with sponsor invitation. He started out the Final Round 3 shots behind the leader and marked 66 to make a come from behind win on his 13th year as a Pro.

He is wishing to defend his Champion title, but unfortunate mishaps got in his way. His 1W was miss coordinated. His shaft is for 45 inch, but club head designed for 44.5 inch was attached by mistake. And the unpleasant outcome of this mistake was the fact that he didn't notice the mistake until last week. He was swinging the miss coordinated 1W for 2 months.
"I was using the unbalanced 1W for 2 month. I was having hard time getting uses to it. It felt weird and I got confused about my swing and went on adjusting but didn't work."

His Driving Distance still averages at 303.33 yards, and it is not bad, but he ranks in 11th. Current No.1 Chan Kim has come back from injury this season and many other players are driving it long too and last season's Long Drive Champions fame was fading away.

"I don't think I could win against Chan Kim, but still my distance right now is not satisfying."

His 1W was fixed last week but, "I was having difficult time for 2 months, so it has bad affects. I t might take a while to get back to my normal rhythm, but I am getting good feelings back."

There are only 5 players who has succeeded in defending the Champion title in 46 years of Taiheiyo Master's history.
"How does everyone succeed to defend the Champion title? It's not easy. But I don't intend to do something different for this tournament. I will do my best as I always do."