There are sporting legends in every country that seem to be bigger than life. They make people sit up and take note. Masashi “Jumbo” Ozaki is just such an athlete. While golf has long been popular in Japan, it was Ozaki who brought a new vitality to the game and his emergence spawned an unprecedented growth in the game in the country.
Only the second Japanese male to be admitted to the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum (Isao Aoki was the first), Ozaki is often thought to be to Japanese golf what Arnold Palmer is to American golf. His success has spawned an entire generation of Japanese golf professionals, both male and female.
Born on January 24, 1947 in Tokushima, Japan, Ozaki was not just a star player, but an icon in Japan and at least partially responsible for the success of the Japan Golf Tour Organization. Every sport needs its heroes in order to grow and Ozaki was just what golf needed to become mainstream in Japan.