Collin Morikawa is a bonafide star in the golfing world. The 24-year-old from Los Angeles, California, already has five PGA TOUR victories, including two major championships. The 2020 PGA Championship and the 2021 Open Championship, winning both on his debut at the events. His PGA TOUR career started in spectacular fashion making 22 consecutive cuts, second only to Tiger, who strung together 25.
As we head into the final leg of the PGA TOUR’s Vegas Swing this week at The Summit Club, it seems like an ideal time to look at the man who is a member at the course and is one of the favourites coming into the tournament.
The Tom and Logan Fazio designed course in the Red Rocks area just west of the Vegas Strip is one that Morikawa is hugely familiar with, even sporting the course logo on his staff bag. Don’t expect it all to be plain sailing for Morikawa this week, though. Seven of the world’s top ten golfers will be competing in the 78-man no-cut event but expect him to be there or thereabouts come Sunday. The course has wide fairways and run-ups around the greens that will have the world’s top players drooling at the prospect of attacking.
Las Vegas resident Morikawa uses this stunning new course as his home base and due to the unfamiliarity of the course to the rest of the field, that undoubtedly hands him a tremendous advantage this week as he seeks his sixth PGA TOUR title.
Any golf fan reading this will know that Morikawa is not only incredibly calm under pressure and possesses one of the best iron games on tour. But what else is there to know about one of the fastest rising stars of golf?
Morikawa spent most of his early days playing at Chevy Chase Club in Glendale, Calif, a nine-hole course with no driving range, meaning he did practically all of his practice on the course. “They gave me a cart, and I was able to go around, hit whatever balls, drop ten balls off a tee, play other holes, make my own holes,” Morikawa said before his PGA Championship victory last year. “It just got me creative, and that’s how I’ve always played golf.”
Morikawa attended the University of California, Berkeley, and it was there he had a legendary dispersion test. “When I was in college at Cal, they said my shot dispersion with a 6-iron was about the same as the average tour pros with a pitching wedge,” Morikawa admitted in an interview last year. “I guess that’s a humble brag.”
It was at The University of California Morikawa became a four-time all American. Not only did he become Cal golf’s first-ever four-time All-American, but he also graduated with multiple honors from the Haas School of Business. “Going all four years and earning a degree was a big deal to me,” Morikawa said recently.
Morikawa finished runner up in his first professional event as a 19-year old amateur. He shot a final-round 63 at the Web.com (Now the Korn Ferry) Tour’s 2016 Air Capital Classic. His incredible final round got him into a three-man playoff where he finally lost out in a sudden-death playoff to Ollie Schniederjans.
Morikawa was a standout player in the 2017 Walker Cup, winning all four of his matches and leading the Americans to a 19-7 win.
Following Morikawa’s successful collegiate career, he signed a multi-year contract with TaylorMade to play with their metalwoods, irons and putter, along with their flagship golf ball. The only club that he plays with that isn’t TaylorMade is a Titleist Vokey wedge.
Those clubs serve Morikawa well; he used them to great effect on winning his first major, the 2020 PGA Championship. He shot the lowest closing 36-hole score in major history that week, posting a 65 on Saturday and a 64 on Sunday – the tied lowest score on a Sunday of any previous winner at the PGA Championship.
Morikawa is one of very few players to secure his PGA TOUR card without going to Q-School or the Korn Ferry Tour Finals. He did enough in only his first five starts as a professional to negate the need for either.
After securing his Tour card in his first five outings, he then secured his first PGA TOUR victory in his sixth, winning the 2019 Barracuda Championship.
Morikawa is dating Katherine Zhu, an excellent golfer in her own right. She played collegiate golf at Pepperdine University, and Morikawa often credits her, along with his caddie, J.J. Jakovac, as part of his success.