Following that tournament, the six went to Virginia at the invitation of Sam Snead to play in a goodwill exhibition match at The Homestead’s Cascades Course in Hot Springs, where Snead was the head professional. Virginia golfers Bobby Cruickshank, Graham Napier, Tommy Halloway, Nelson Long, Billy Howell and Snead played against six Japanese golfers.
In 1936, Toda played in nine documented PGA TOUR events. He, along with Chin, became the first players from Japan to play in the Masters. Chin tied for 20th, with Tommy Armour, Lawson Little, Sam Parks and Craig Wood (all major champions or future major champions), while Toda tied for 29th. Chin was born in Chinese Taipei to Chinese parents, but he grew up in Japan and counted himself a citizen of Japan.
Also in 1936, Toda recorded top-10 finishes at the Hollywood (Florida) Open (T2), the Catalina (California) Open (fifth), the Thomasville (Georgia) Open (ninth) and the Richmond Open (T10). His only missed cut was at that year’s U.S. Open.
Toda’s tie for second was the best performance by a player from Japan until Isao Aoki won the 1983 Hawaiian Open (now the Sony Open in Hawaii). He famously holed a pitching wedge for eagle on the 72nd hole to beat Jack Renner and became the first Japanese player – and first Asian – to win on the PGA TOUR.
Aoki’s PGA TOUR debut had come at the 1974 Hawaiian Open where he tied for 36th, but he became a PGA TOUR member for the first time in 1981. In the 1980 U.S. Open at Baltusrol, Aoki was runner-up to Jack Nicklaus.
Aoki only had the one TOUR win but went on to win nine times on PGA TOUR Champions.
Since Aoki’s breakthrough win, we have seen plenty more stars from Japan.
Source: PGA tour