Connect with us


Collin Morikawa’s Game a ‘Work in Progress’ Heading to U.S. Open



Photo credit: Chris Pohl/Pittsburgh Golf Now

DUBLIN, Ohio — Just under a couple of years ago, Collin Morikawa lifted the Claret Jug, earning his second major championship in his professional career.

But now, the 26-year-old readily admits he is battling elements within his game.

Morikawa posted eight birdies in Saturday’s third round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday, but four blemishes on his scorecard prevented him from entering the first page of the leaderboard.

Even so, he will enter the final round at Muirfield Village Golf Club at 4 under, tied for ninth, and has an outside chance of winning his sixth PGA Tour event.

“It’s really been a while since I’ve had eight birdies really anywhere,” he admitted. “I listened to Billy Horschel’s interview after the first day and I’m kind of in the same boat, not quite there. I’ve had a two-way miss.

“It’s funny because the swing visually probably looks the best it ever has but with that, coming so neutral, I brought left into play. We’re just trying to get rid of the left and get cuts back.

“It’s tough because when you look at video, it looks beautiful and there’s nothing to complain about. It was nice to put some birdies together and kind of keep it going. Obviously bogeys, weren’t too happy about, but they’re going to come especially on a course like this.”

His round started with a short-range birdie on the first hole but hit his tee ball so far left he thought it was out of bounds and then felt the same way about his provisional ball. His original tee shot would be found, but he was unable to pitch back out onto the fairway, leading to a bogey.

Morikawa quickly recovered, cutting an approach shot towards the flag. The aggressive line worked for his second birdie of the day and was his first of three consecutive circles on the scorecard.

Despite the early bogey, Morikawa had five birdies and a lip out to end an eventful front nine.

A loose bunker shot gave one of those shots back, as his game saw plenty of ebbs and flows that would prohibit any improvement to his final score.

Still, Morikawa rebounded from a water hazard after a poor bunker shot on the 16th to finish with two consecutive birdies, chipping in on the 17th and finishing his day with the flatstick on 18.

There admittedly be some guesswork with his game, but he still was able to find ways to score.

Morikawa’s game has shown some promise as he soon heads to Los Angeles Country Club, where the U.S. Open will be held in two weeks’ time.

So far early reports are that the rough will not be as thick as other USGA setups, though that certainly could remain a possibility. Morikawa is quite familiar with LACC, but even if the rough is not penal, there could still be a dry thinness where a golfer may catch jumpers and tumble 10 to 20 yards over the green.

As it shapes up, Morikawa has one round remaining at the Memorial Tournament and will be skipping next week’s RBC Heritage, giving him some time to get his game sharper for what could potentially be a third major triumph.

“I’m still working on some things,” said Morikawa. “It looked great on the first hole and then on the second hole I nearly hit it OB. It’s a work in progress and it’s tough.

“The margins are so fine, it’s being able to control the spin a little bit better, you see what happened on 17, a little knuckly 5-iron and before I used to be a cutter and still am, I used to play it a little spinny but it’s just managing these small things that no one would ever see.”


Morikawa comprises a quarter of a much-heralded 2019 PGA Tour rookie class which included Viktor Hovland, Matthew Wolff and Justin Suh.

While the other three got off to fast starts and each won a Tour event that year, Suh overcommitted in terms of his schedule, injured his wrist and in his own word, “sucked.”

As Morikawa was asked about Suh, a smile formed across his face, a clear acknowledgement of the challenges his friend has experienced, but also how he has triumphs from those hardships.

“What Wolff, Viktor, myself did early on, not a lot of people do,” Morikawa said. “I think when you look at the history of golf, not many people have that. With him what he’s done is just continue to get better. He was a great amateur golfer, great collegiate player but it doesn’t always translate to success.

“It’s a learning curve and he definitely found a way. He was a Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year and that takes a lot of good golf. If you look at the past few Korn Ferry Tour Players of the Year they’ve done really well out here. No doubt he will be a great player out here.”

Suh was the leader after two rounds and has been able to play his most competitive golf in the higher-profile events. Now Morikawa is waiting for that one big breakthrough and his confidence in that happening is obvious.

“I’ve known him for a long time and he doesn’t care about what we’re doing, he’s only supporting us,” Morikawa said. “I knew he was going to be good enough to get out here, so it’s a matter of time for him to put together some good rounds.”

Get PGN in your Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Moon Golf Club

Follow PGN on Twitter