Update (7/18, 2:00 p.m.): Well, Collin Morikawa has won the British Open. Get used to hearing his name.
Golf is chock full of incredible young talent right now. Bryson DeChambeau, Jordan Spieth, and Justin Thomas are all under 30 and have been dropping jaws for years on the PGA Tour. The old folks are still getting their licks in — Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, Louis Oosthuizen, and many others are still out there killing it — but a youth movement has definitely swept over the sport. We talk a lot about the drama between Koepka and DeChambeau. We talk a lot about Jordan Spieth whenever he starts doing well, but I rarely ever hear people celebrate Collin Morikawa for all that he’s done.
What has he done? I’m glad you asked. All Morikawa has done is start his career making 22 straight cuts — the most ever since Tiger Woods made 25 straight to start his career. Morikawa also won the 2020 PGA Championship in just his second major appearance.
Morikawa made his PGA major debut in 2019 and since then, in the majors he’s attended, Morikawa has finished 35th, FIRST!, missed cut, 44th, 18th, 8th, 4th, and he’s 2nd place heading into the final day of the British Open. For those of you not in the know, that’s an incredible stretch, and if he manages to pull out the win today...hold up, let me do the math real quick. That’ll be two major wins in eight appearances, all before he’s turned 25. To put that in perspective, Jordan Spieth — well-regarded as having one of the best starts to a professional career of all-time — missed the cut in two of his first four major appearances, and finished top-10 in just one of his first eight major appearances. So, just a little comparison there for you. Spieth didn’t win his first major until his eleventh appearance. Morikawa was the third-youngest golfer to win a major and just the fourth ever to win a major before turning 24. To make it seem more impressive, Morikawa has finished top-10 in 17 of his 48 total tournament appearances. In over a third of the tournaments he’s appeared in, Morikawa has finished in the top-10.
Like holy smokes! That’s just unheard of. So, why is it that Morikawa hasn’t received the same recognition that players like DeChambeau, Koepka, Spieth, and Thomas have? Well, for one, Morikawa doesn’t get involved in the drama and beef between players that we’ve seen shoot athletes like Koepka and DeChambeau into superstardom. I’d love to give you an example of that, but since he just avoids all that, there really isn’t one to give. Morikawa also loves to give credit to those around him. We’ve seen people like Bryson DeChambeau get into fights with his caddy and blame his driver when he does poorly. DeChambeau is known for being a little cocky on the course as well. Morikawa doesn’t appear to be that way. After winning the World Golf Championship event in Bradenton, Florida in February this year — becoming the only golfer aside from Tiger Woods to win a major and WGC event before turning 25 — Morikawa talked about how his teachers and mentors prepared him for the event and went on to thank Tiger Woods, his golfing icon who’d just been in a horrific car accident, for all he’d done to benefit the sport. It’s not the kind of stuff that creates drama and gets people watching. It does make him seem like a very swell person though, with an incredible passion for the game of golf.
Morikawa is one stroke back of Louis Oosthuizen for the lead at the British Open. Oosthuizen has been on the PGA Tour since 2002. He’s had the opportunity to play in 18 British Opens (the event was canceled in 2020 due to COVID). This is Morikawa’s first appearance at the event. It’s bound to be an incredible finish, so we better enjoy it while we can. People loved Spieth when he started out, and as he fizzled, golf fans everywhere became upset that they didn’t take in Spieth’s greatness for all it was worth during the hot streak to start his career. We might be seeing an even better start with Morikawa. Don’t make the same mistake. Give him all the attention he’s earned.