Yuki Inamori, a two-time Japan Open winner, hopes to use his debut at the World Golf Championships-Workday Championship at The Concession this week as a springboard to achieve his American dream.
The 26-year-old rising star is amongst an elite 72-man field headlined by World No.1 Dustin Johnson and defending champion Patrick Reed who are amongst an array of stars gathered at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Florida for the US$10.5 million showpiece.
As the WGC-Workday Championship will be Inamori’s first tournament of 2021, he hopes to quickly shake off any rust to his game and show why he is a two-time champion on the Japan Golf Tour.
“Of course I would love to win the whole thing but I just want to try and stay competitive throughout the week and hopefully put myself in a position on Sunday for a chance to win. I have been home practicing, training and playing golf in the last few months,” Inamori said.
Being the reigning national champion holds great pride for Inamori. His one-stroke victory in the Japan Open last October cemented his stature as a player to watch and his short-term goal now is to join countrymen Hideki Matsuyama and Satoshi Kodaira on the PGA Tour.
He has featured previously in three PGA Tour-sanctioned tournaments at the WGC-HSBC Champions in 2018, finishing T73 and he also made the cut at the 2019 Sony Open in Hawaii and the Open Championship in 2019. With this week’s WGC-Workday Championship being played over four rounds, Inamori hopes to glean as much experience as possible in his quest to eventually bring his game onto the PGA Tour.
"I would love to win the whole thing but I just want to try and stay competitive throughout the week and hopefully put myself in a position on Sunday for a chance to win." – Yuki Inamori
“I was happy to win (the Japan Open) but I still need to work much harder. I was extremely excited when I found out I was exempt into the WGC-Workday Championship. This will be my second time playing in a WGC and I was pretty disappointed with the results from the first one. I would love to take what I learned from the first experience and do my best this week,” he said.
“After seeing Hideki and Satoshi enjoy success (on the PGA Tour), I have revamped my course management and practice methods to be more like theirs. I would love to one day compete and win on the PGA Tour.”
Inamori started playing golf at the age of six due to his father’s influence and he subsequently grew up adoring Tiger Woods, winner of the inaugural ZOZO Championship in 2019, the first official PGA Tour event in Japan.
“My father has been my biggest influence in golf and he is the reason why I started to play the game. And then Tiger Woods is the guy I always wanted to be like,” he said.
“As a kid, I remember watching golf on television and now to be able to play in those same tournaments that I used to watch is something I’m very proud of. My goal now is to work hard and become a successful player in Japan and then have the chance to compete in these overseas events.”
Matsuyama, a five-time PGA Tour winner including two World Golf Championships titles, is also in this week’s elite field.