SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Alyssia Hernandez heard the screams of “Fore!” and ducked for cover, but she was too late. During Friday’s second round of the WM Phoenix Open, Hideki Matsuyama’s errant drive blasted through the trees alongside the 11th fairway and directly into her face.
The impact destroyed her glasses and left her with cuts along the bridge of her nose and her right eyebrow.
She knew the TV cameras would follow, so she tried to scoot out of sight, but again, she was too late. Matsuyama ducked under the ropes and waded into the crowd, asking plaintively, “Who did I hit?”
“I was sneaking away, and then he came up and was trying to find me,” Hernandez said.
Matsuyama, the 2021 Masters champion and two-time winner of the Phoenix Open, signed a glove and even posed for a photograph with Hernandez, at her request.
Hernandez wore her husband’s glasses and was still holding an ice bag when reporters caught up with her minutes after the incident. Hernandez’s group had been enjoying the welcome return of sunshine to Friday’s second round when Matsuyama’s drive changed their plans. The couple from Nebraska were headed for the medical tent after speaking to reporters.
While she was in good spirits, even cracking a smile, Hernandez wasn’t sure she would return to the Phoenix Open after her unwelcome moment of fame.
“That’s my first, and maybe my last.”