Born in Chikusei, the man with the distinctive cowboy-style hat has been a prolific winner on the Japan Golf Tour since 1997. Turned professional two years earlier and has played full time on his home tour with occasional excursions to the United States, where he has performed with distinction in the majors. Won no fewer than 29 times in Japan and topped the money list five times between 2000 and 2008. Played in several major championships and World Golf Championships events. His most notable achievement outside Japan is his tie-for-fourth finish at the 2001 US PGA Championship and fourth at the 2009 Masters – the best showing by a Japanese golfer at Augusta National.