There was a constituency of support among the regular players on the PGA Tour that Collin Morikawa was ready to take the next step toward golfing greatness in the days leading up to last week’s PGA Championship win by the American golfer.
Morikawa won a major in just his second attempt. He joined Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus as 23-year-olds to win the PGA.
His peers are certain that such victories will become a regular occurrence as Morikawa continues to build his golfing resume.
Morikawa was one of three highly-touted rookies who earned their PGA Tour chops a year ago. But while Matthew Wolff and Viktor Hovland seemed to suck up all the oxygen in the room among the trio in terms of media hype and attention, those who watched Morikawa’s game on a steady basis were certain that he was the one to watch in terms of reaching stardom in rapid fashion.
“There’s always a bunch of guys that rock up on the scene, and he didn’t necessarily get the most publicity out of the group he was in, but you know, I can consider myself veteran; I’ve been around the block, so I know talent when I see it,” Paul Casey told Golf Digest. “Talent’s — you know something good. We could just tell.
“Those of us who knew, knew that … he’s the one. Even if the media weren’t talking — they were talking about him, but that’s where we were focusing our attention, and we weren’t wrong.”
A Methodical Perfectionist
Morikawa overtook a world-class field on the final day of the PGA Championship at Harding Park. It was a group that included Brooks Koepka, who’d won the tournament the past two years, 2106 U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson, 2015 PGA Championship winner Jason Day, world No. 1 Jon Rahm and 2013 U.S. Open winner Justin Rose, as well as Casey, who ended up runner-up and has recorded a top-10 finish in all four of golf’s majors.
In the end, it took a fabulous round to overcome such a fabulous field as this. And Morikawa delivered the goods. His bogey-free 64 tied the PGA Championship record for the lowest score in a final round of play by the tournament winner. Morikawa’s closing 36-hole total of 129 was the lowest total ever recorded by a major winner in the history of golf.
This soft-spoken Southern Californian who played his NCAA golf for the California Bears found about the only method contained within his repertoire to draw attention to himself. That would be the way Morikawa can play golf.
“He is a heck of a player,” Tony Finau said of Morikawa. “He doesn’t have a weakness in his game. He doesn’t have a weakness mentally. So when you’re dealing with that type of talent, he’s going to be somebody to beat in major championships for a lot of these things.”
Consistency is what makes Morikawa successful. He’s only missed one cut so far during his PGA Tour career, and his unflappable character is perhaps what impresses others most about him.
“Instant maturity was probably the one thing that stood out,” Casey said. “I mean very mature in the words he chooses, the way he speaks, the way he plays golf.”
Betting On Colin
Morikawa won the PGA Championship in his 29th PGA Tour event. By coincidence, Woods won the 1997 Masters, his first major, in his 29th PGA Tour event.
Naturally, his victory in the first major of 2020 is making a significant impact in the golf bets that will be placed on the U.S. Open, the next major on tap this season.
The usual suspects still top the list. Koepka is the +1100 favorite. Johnson and Rory McIlory can be had for +1200. Surprisingly, you can still get +2000 on Morikawa.
He was +2500 to win the PGA Championship.
“I’m never satisfied to its fullest,” Morikawa told CNN. “And who knows when I will be, but I just want more.
“I got a little taste of what it’s like to win a major championship, to what those other players have won before, and I definitely want it again.”