It has been a tough two years for Collin Morikawa. He has not won since lifting the Claret Jug in 2021. Could that change this week at Royal Liverpool?
Two years on from Collin Morikawa’s Open Championship success, the American is yet to go close at another major. Is this the week ‘it’s going to come’?
Two weeks ago, Morikawa came close to winning on Tour once again. He lost out in a playoff to Rickie Fowler at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, as Fowler secured his first win on the PGA Tour for more than four years.
It was Morikawa’s second runner-up finish of the year, after seeing Jon Rahm come from behind to win the Sentry Tournament of Champions. The American believes that it is only a matter of time before he gets that elusive victory.
“Being in contention two weeks ago was the best feeling, walking down those last nine holes, it felt like it was just back to normal. It didn’t feel like it was out of the norm. It just felt like, man, we’re here to make birdies, we’re here to win the tournament. The playoff didn’t go the way I wanted, but it just felt comfortable.
“To know that that’s still there, that’s the best feeling. Yes, absolutely I do want to be back on top. I know it’s going to come. I don’t know when. Hopefully this week. But it’s going to happen. It’s just putting everything together, hitting the right shots, and like I said earlier, having things go your way, so hopefully it’s this week.”
Morikawa lifted the Claret Jug in 2021 thanks to a stunning victory in the sunshine at Royal Cinque Ports. Winning two of his first eight major championships set a new post-war record, and it looked like the world was at his feet.
He won the DP World Championship Dubai at the end of the season, but since then, it has been a struggle for the American. Just two top tens in majors and a couple of runner-up finishes have come for the former World No 2.
“I would love a big week. Obviously the goal is to win. That’s what it is every week,” Morikawa said earlier in his press conference.
“[The] Ryder Cup is obviously a huge goal of mine and has been for the past two years, especially turning into the beginning of this year, and it still is. That’s a really big goal of mine. But winning takes care of everything.
“I would say the last two years have been interesting, not the way I would have guessed it would have gone two years ago, but that’s golf and that’s life. You really don’t know what to expect. It’s really about learning and truly learning about it.
“To really realise the steps that I took, would I have changed anything, would I have done anything different? Maybe a couple things, but it’s all about putting that game plan together, refining things, knowing what you’re going to do, and I think I’ve kind of done that and gotten better.”
For the opening two rounds at Royal Liverpool, Morikawa will be paired up with compatriot Max Homa and England’s Tyrrell Hatton.
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The 2021 Open champion believes that it is one of the best groups that he has been part of.
“This might be one of my favourite pairings that I have ever had. Max, obviously, I have gotten close with him and I call him a really good friend,” Morikawa said about his group for the first two days
“He is obviously a lot of fun to play well, but Tyrrell… When people ask me who I like to play with, I say his name because it is entertaining.
“It is enjoyable but there is no hate against you, he doesn’t disrupt you, he doesn’t slow you down. We are fast players. His caddie, Mick, is also incredible. We were literally talking about it 20 minutes ago, me and my caddie.
“It truly is one of the best pairings I could ask for. I enjoy it, he is a lot of fun. He is never really that negative and he will talk to you at any point, even if he is mad. We have seen a lot of those moments but he is a really good guy. He has a good time, but he is a professional, in terms of respecting his playing partners, for sure.”
It will feel like a long time for Morikawa since he lifted the Claret Jug two years ago at Royal St George’s, when he referred to the tournament at the British Open.
It was a bit of a faux pas at the time, but if you win it, who cares right?
“I definitely called it the British Open the year I won and people gave me hate for it,” he said.
“Then I called it the Open last year, but I played better when I called it the British Open so I might keep calling it the British Open.
“Obviously, the British.. I am not too good with this whole geography, world stuff. I think people understand whether you say British Open or the Open.
“At the end of the day, if you win it, you can call it whatever the hell you want!”
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