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Golf Australia Express : Issue 7
LIST THE ONACCOUNT of his prodigious length off the tee and height of close to six foot (181cm)—a towering man by Japanese standards— Masashi Ozaki is better known as Jumbo. Not many outside Japan were aware Jumbo was a professional baseballer first, golfer second. Playing for the Nishitetsu Lions, Jumbo gave up the pitching to take up, well, pitching. A year after turning pro at 23, Jumbo won a major title—the Japan PGA Championship. The legend of Jumbo had been ignited, and a worldwide cult following was not far behind. Remaining loyal to the Japan Tour endeared Jumbo to his equally loyal fans, who worshipped him like a god. His 94 wins on that tour saw him top the money list 12 times. He sat inside the world Top 10 for almost 200 weeks between 1989-1998. He was also a one-time Presidents Cup player. Though he never won in America, his ¥2.6 billion (approx $32 million) in career prize-money would have been some consolation. THE EMPEROR Masashi “Jumbo” Ozaki (born 1947)