Satoshi Kodaira shocked the golf world with his sudden-death win at the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing on a stormy Sunday on Hilton Head Island.
He apparently also shocked the royal and ancient tailors who make the signature plaid jacket that immediately goes to the winner, along with $1.2 million.
Kodaira slipped into the jacket during a ceremony moved inside the Harbour Town Clubhouse due to weather.
As Gov. Henry McMaster and other dignitaries looked on, Doug McGregor, chairman and chief executive officer of RBC Capital Markets and now a Hilton Head Island homeowner, slipped the plaid jacket on the surprise winner.
It was Cary Corbitt’s Heritage plaid jacket. The Sea Pines vice president for sports and operations is apparently the closest in size to Kodaira, so off went his jacket in the time of need.
Corbitt has done a lot for Sea Pines in 41 years with the company, and in fact is in the Lowcountry Golf Hall of Fame, but he has never won a Heritage.
But his coat has.
Images of the snug fitting plaid jacket on the back of the 5-foot-8, 28-year-old Kodaira were flashed around the world.
Later in the media tent — after formal interviews done through interpreter Tomo Kuga and a separate, impromptu news conference with the Japanese media outside the tent — attention turned back to the plaid jacket.
And the hardware.
The new “captain of gentlemen golfers” couldn’t take his sporty jacket home because it belonged to Corbitt. A couple of other plaid jackets were there for him to try on, but they seemed a bit large. It was decided Kodaira needed a size 38S — and that the Heritage Classic Foundation would get him one and mail it to him.
As for the hardware, Kuga seemed surprised that they might have to take the trophy of Heritage mascot Sir Willie Innes home on a plane.
He asked that the weighty likeness of the old Scotch golfer also be mailed to Japan.
Kuga, an on-sight producer for NHK television of Japan, had a big story to himself.
He said Kodaira is the only the fifth Japanese player to win on the PGA Tour, and people in Japan always follow closely countrymen who do well on the world stage.
When Hideki Matsuyama of Japan plays at the Heritage, a swarm of cameras and reporters follows his every stroke, no matter how he’s doing on the leader board.
This time, one crew was here, and that’s only because they stayed over a week after the Masters, Kuga said.
“No one expected this,” Kuga said. “It’s shocking, I think. He was kind of the underdog.”
At home, Kodaira has won enough on the Japan Golf Tour, including majors, to be ranked in the world’s top 50 golfers.
But even there he may be known as the husband of Miho Koga. She was a professional golfer who also won majors in Japan but walked away from the game in 2011 and is a television commentator.
They were married in 2017. She was Kodaira’s caddie during the Par-3 Contest at the Masters two weeks ago but was back home for her husband’s breakthrough win on Hilton Head. Kodaira made his best showing yet on the PGA Tour at the Masters, tying for 28th.
Until he won Cary Corbitt’s plaid jacket at the Heritage.