Minutes later, Morikawa merely turned his personal tee shot on the 336-yard 16th right into a signature second. His drive rolled up onto the inexperienced and stopped a mere seven ft from the flag. That left a makeable putt however one which was hardly a gimme, significantly given the stakes.
Even a two-putt would have put Morikawa again into the lead however as an alternative, with businesslike effectivity, he drained his first try. Similar to that, a event that lengthy appeared destined for a playoff consisting of three, 4 or much more opponents was as an alternative all however determined with two holes to play.
Sorry, Casey. Sorry, Dustin Johnson. Sorry, Jason Day, Bryson DeChambeau and Tony Finau. Hey, don’t take it personally.
Morikawa didn’t when he misplaced a heartbreaker at June’s Charles Schwab Problem, the Tour’s first full occasion after a three-month, coronvirus-related hiatus. He missed a six-foot putt that doubtless would have received the occasion in regulation, then had a three-footer lip out to present a playoff win to Daniel Berger.
That sequence would hang-out many a younger participant, and Morikawa may need wanted a few weeks to shake it off, as he proceeded to complete 64th and miss the reduce at his subsequent two tournaments. Simply 4 weeks after the loss to Berger, although, Morikawa confirmed that nothing was going to throw him off his recreation.
Trailing by three strokes to Justin Thomas with simply three holes to play on the Workday Charity Open, Morikawa managed to make up that floor and located himself in one other playoff. Once more, placing got here into play, and it didn’t look good for Morikawa when Thomas drained a 50-footer on the primary gap of the sudden-death format.
Morikawa didn’t take that ridiculous shot personally. Confronted along with his personal 24-foot try and maintain the event alive, he did what he needed to do by sinking the putt, and he went on to defeat the 13-time Tour winner.
Morikawa now has three wins on the Tour, together with a significant, regardless of solely turning professional in June 2019. He may need gotten going sooner however he waited till after his commencement from Cal’s Haas Faculty of Enterprise and a stellar, four-year profession taking part in for the Golden Bears.
The 2019 Pac-12 Males’s Golfer of the Yr, Morikawa was first-team all-conference in every of his 4 seasons. He was additionally a three-time Pac-12 all-academic honoree, and his caddie praised the 5-foot-9, 160-pound participant earlier this yr for his cerebral strategy.
“The very best factor about him is his head,” J.J. Jakovac mentioned in January (through pgatour.com). “I do know the programs, however he thinks like a caddie on the market, which is cool. He doesn’t play too conservative; he performs sensible. He’s very methodical about the best way he plots it round.
“I used to be saying this to somebody,” added Jakovac, who has been on Morikawa’s bag for the reason that begin of the latter’s PGA profession, “and so they mentioned, ‘So he’s like a 10-year veteran.’ I mentioned, ‘He’s higher than most of these guys.’ Within the psychological side.”
Morikawa was higher than most proper off the bat, as he completed tied for second in his fourth Tour occasion final yr, completed tied for fourth per week later after which received the Barracuda Championship in his subsequent begin. The reduce he missed final month was the primary of his profession, and it got here after he performed into the weekend 22 straight instances to start his profession, second solely to Tiger Woods (25) over the previous 30 years.
Morikawa now has as many main championships as cuts missed, and 3 times as many PGA Tour titles. He joined Rory McIlroy, Woods and Jack Nicklaus — some pretty strong firm — as the newest gamers to win their first PGA Championship by age 23 (per pgachampionship.com).
In different phrases, Morikawa has made it his enterprise to excel on the Tour. That’s mirrored in his backside line, which reveals him with over $5 million in profession earnings after Sunday’s payday of just about $2 million.
Even earlier than his last spherical at San Francisco’s TPC Harding Park, Morikawa impressed his taking part in associate on Saturday, Adam Scott. The 2013 Masters winner marveled at how “nothing was actually going to faze” Morikawa.
“I like his demeanor on the golf course quite a bit,” added the 40-year-old Scott (through the New York Post). “There was no weak spot. He appears to have it below management.”
A Los Angeles-area native, Morikawa took his first golf classes at age 5, and he started to hone a capability to assume his manner round a course whereas taking part in at a close-by facility that attempted to make up for a scarcity of size with tough layouts. On the par-67 Chevy Chase Nation Membership in Glendale, Calif., Morikawa was in a position to “go round, hit no matter balls, drop 10 balls off a tee, play different holes, make my very own holes,” he advised the Los Angeles Times final week.
Morikawa’s childhood teacher, Rick Sessinghaus, said in January that “we have been doing a variety of our classes on the course” in these days.
“There’s a variety of nice swings on the market however not many golfers,” Sessinghaus mentioned of his star pupil. “He realized to play at a excessive stage. Collin’s been wired that manner; I’ve tried to domesticate it, increase his golf I.Q. by placing him in several conditions.
“He’s going to take a look at a golf course and create a technique based mostly on his capabilities. He’s not going to overpower it however can plot his manner round based mostly on his strengths.”
All that coaching got here collectively fantastically Sunday, because the comparatively undersized Morikawa left huge boppers resembling DeChambeau and Johnson trying up at him on the chief board. Maybe his solely unsteady second got here when Morikawa was handed the Wanamaker Trophy, as he shook the prize in celebration solely to react with temporary alarm when the lid flew off.
If Morikawa was unfamiliar with the trophy, the identical couldn’t be mentioned in regards to the course at TPC Harding Park, positioned roughly 20 miles west of the Cal-Berkeley campus. Which will nicely have given him an additional edge Sunday, if solely as a result of it helped him preserve a consolation stage amid his preparations for the event.
That familiarity additionally added a really significant layer to the breakthrough win.
“To shut it out right here at a course that I performed a dozen instances all through faculty, it’s actually particular,” Morikawa said.
In that sense, Morikawa had the very best of each worlds Sunday: It was enterprise and it was private.