Matsuyama enjoys fame but says he's no Michael Jordan

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Reigning Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama of Japan will tee off Thursday at Torrey Pines in his first US Open since becoming a major champion
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Reigning Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama enjoys sporting superstar fame in his homeland after becoming the first Japanese man to win a major golf title, but insists he's no Michael Jordan.

Asked about living with fame like that of basketball legend Jordan, Matsuyama said Wednesday at the US Open that he's far from the lofty feats of 1990s icon Jordan, who won six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls.

"I'm really just getting started," Matsuyama said through a translator. "I'm not in that class, that level of player.

"I just have to keep working hard and hopefully every day I'll be able to improve my game and be a worthy major title holder."

Matsuyama says the extra demands since he captured the green jacket at Augusta National in April have been fun and he would welcome even more.

"There are a lot more demands than before, but actually it's a happy thing," Matsuyama said. "Hopefully I can keep playing well and the demands will become even greater."

Formidable Torrey Pines will make its demands upon Matsuyama with tougher conditions for this week's major than he faced when sharing 53rd at the US PGA Farmers Insurance Open on the same layout in January.

"It's a difficult Torrey Pines again," Matsuyama said. "Some of the differences from when we play earlier in the year, the rough is much thicker and the greens are much firmer. It's going to be a tough test this week.

"Par is a good score at the US Open. You just have to avoid the bogeys from time to time. I'm looking forward to the challenge."

World number 15 Matsuyama hopes it will help him to play as a major champion for the first time in a US Open.

"All I can do is my best," Matsuyama said. "It's good to be a major title winner and hopefully that momentum will carry through this week."

Matsuyama has drawn strange looks for his follow through, but says the one-handed swing finishes he sometimes displays are not a sign of exasperation.

"Even on some good shots, if I'm not striking it the way I want to, a lot of times that one-arm finish will occur," he said. "It's not like I'm upset at the shot, but hopefully people won't read too much into it."

Matsuyama's Masters win was his only top-10 finish so far this year. He shared 23rd at last month's PGA Championship and 62nd two weeks ago at the Memorial.

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