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Rikuya Hoshino Q&A: Japan's newest DP World Tour winner on lifelong Masters goal, camaraderie with his peers and making his imprint on the game

Rikuya Hoshino Q&A: Japan's newest DP World Tour winner on lifelong Masters goal, camaraderie with his peers and making his imprint on the game

It’s safe to say 2024 has the potential to be a year to remember for Rikuya Hoshino. With his maiden DP World Tour title already secured, he is thriving on the international stage and playing a big part in putting Japanese golf in the spotlight.


Until his victory at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters earlier this month, a week before Major-winning compatriot Hideki Matsuyama won on the PGA TOUR, Hoshino was perhaps unfamiliar to many but he is by no means an entirely new figure in the game.

A six-time winner in his homeland on the Japan Golf Tour, the 27-year-old is competing in his second campaign as a DP World Tour member through a formal player pathway between the two organisations and the PGA TOUR.

While he has played in several Major Championships over the years, it is indisputably over the past 12 months that Hoshino is emerging to wider prominence.

After registering three top 10s on the DP World Tour last season, he then came even closer in the first two weeks of the 2024 campaign as he finished second in back-to-back events on Australian soil.

But the disappointment at those near-misses only fuelled his desire further and he is now setting his sights on realising more of his goals, with a first start at the Masters Tournament and representing Japan at the Olympics for the second time high on the list.

Sitting second on the Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex, and sixth on the International Swing Rankings, Hoshino is eager to maintain his momentum at this week’s Magical Kenya Open.

Here, we catch up with the DP World Tour’s newest member of the winner’s circle to discuss lifelong goals, camaraderie among his peers, and making his imprint on the game.

Q. Can you summarise the reaction back home in Japan to your victory. Have you had the chance to celebrate your maiden DP World Tour title and if so, how?

A. My family, friends, fellow Japanese golfers, and numerous fans have been delighted by my success overseas. Currently, I am holding off on celebrating since I haven't returned to Japan yet. I plan to do so once things settle down toward the end of the year. For now, I've toasted with my caddie in Qatar.

Q. You have become just the fourth Japanese winner in DP World Tour history after Isao Aoki, Hideki Matsuyama and Ryo Hisatsune. How motivated were you to add your name to golf’s history books?

A. I feel extremely honoured to be counted among the greats in history. I aspire to work harder and leave a legacy by achieving even better results and making a name for myself.

Q. Masahiro Kawamura was one of the first to congratulate you on your win. How valuable is the friendship and support of fellow Japanese players?

A. Mr. Kawamura has been a reassuring figure on the DP World Tour for many years, and it's incredibly encouraging to be able to engage in discussions about the tour with him. Having fellow Japanese colleagues allows for mutual growth and camaraderie, and even in locations far away from Japan, the Tour becomes much more enjoyable through shared experiences like training together and eating out.

Q. For some of your fellow countrymen, travelling the world to play an international schedule isn't something many choose to do. What do you enjoy about travelling around the world playing golf?

A. Playing on various courses around the world in tournaments brings me immense joy, and I've had a love for world history since childhood, experiencing different cities and cultures is not only enjoyable but also educational for me. Therefore, whenever I have free time, I like to go sightseeing as well. However, one of the most memorable moments for me was when the fans in the gallery stand sang the birthday song for me on the final hole at the Soudal Open in Belgium, as I turned 27 last year.

Q. You are now ranked 75th in the world. Is trying to qualify for the Masters – the only Major you have not played in – on your radar? How much would it mean to play at Augusta National?

A. Participating in the Masters is a lifelong goal for me, so I play with that aim in mind. It's a tournament that Hideki Matsuyama won, and I've watched the Masters on TV since I was a child, so I've always wanted to compete in it.

Q. We are in an Olympics year. Having represented Japan on home soil in 2021, how much is the chance to play again this summer at Le Golf National a goal of yours?

A. I am once again aiming to represent my country at the Paris Olympics. With the experience from the previous Olympics and familiarity with the course, I am looking forward to the opportunity to compete in the Paris Olympics.

Q. You started the 2024 season in fantastic form with runner-up finishes in back-to-back events in Australia. What do you think has enabled you to produce such consistent performances?

A. Last season, I struggled with my golf game from tee shots to putts on the course. However, I approached each shot methodically, facing them head on and adapting accordingly. It took me nearly a year of dedication, but I was finally able to showcase this improvement in Australia. Thanks to the challenges I faced last year, I now find myself playing with much more ease and enjoyment than before. While it was incredibly frustrating to lose in a play-off at the ISPS HANDA Australian Open, especially after finishing second for two consecutive weeks. However, those second-place finishes gave me the confidence that I could win. They also ignited my determination and motivation.

Q. Last season Ryo Hisatsune secured dual status on the PGA TOUR by performing well on the DP World Tour. Is that something you aspire to achieve this year to help your career development?

A. Ryo Hisatsune`s win on the DP World Tour was a significant source of inspiration for me. Additionally, as playing in the PGA is also a personal goal of mine, it greatly motivates me and fills me with enthusiasm.

Q. After missing the cut on your debut in Kenya last year, how motivated are you to do build on your great start to the season? What are the main challenges of the course from your memory?

A. I am determined to secure a strong position and aim for victory even in Kenya. The high altitude requires precise calculation, and the narrow course with firm ground emphasises the importance of executing perfect tee shots.

Q. What do you think you’ve learned the most about yourself, both on and off the course, since starting to play regularly on the DP World Tour last year?

A. The most valuable lessons I've learned are patience, adaptability, cultural appreciation, and the diversity of golf.

Q. You have enjoyed great success in your native Japan. What are the biggest differences between playing in Japan and across the world on the DP World Tour?

A. The difficulty level of the golf course itself is high, and factors such as wind, course conditions, and bunkers require a higher level of adaptability on the DP World Tour.

Q. Who was your sporting hero growing up and why?

A. Tiger Woods. Watching him win the Masters was incredibly impressive. It inspired me to aspire to play stylish and impressive golf.

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