D.he only mistakes made by the otherwise sovereign Collin Morikawa at the award ceremony. The 24-year-old American spoke to 32,000 English fans at the Royal St. George’s Golf Club in Sandwich about how proud he was to have won the British Open and to have been honored as the “Open Championship winner”. The oldest of the four majors is officially called “The Open Championship” and is only referred to as the British Open outside of the British Isles. And the winner of the Claret Jug (red wine jug) is proclaimed “Champion Golfer of the Year”. But otherwise the young Californian from Los Angeles looked like an old hand at his victory speech. He first congratulated the 23-year-old German Matthias Schmid, who had received the Silver Medal as the best amateur.
“It feels a bit like two years ago when I was an amateur. It’s hard to look back on the two years and see what I’ve already achieved. I want more, ”said the young professional, who in a little over four months as a golf professional achieved amazing, even unique things. Like last August at the PGA Championship, Morikawa also won the 149th Open Championship when he first participated – two wins in two major debuts, a coup that was last achieved by American amateur Bobby Jones in 1926. Morikawa’s record since completing his business studies after four years at the University of California, Berkeley in 2019 is impressive: five wins in 52 tournaments on the PGA and the European Tour, including two triumphs in eight majors. For comparison: Jack Nicklaus needed nine attempts, Tiger Woods 18, before the two most successful golfers to date each won their second title at one of the four traditional tournaments.
The 81-year-old Nicklaus immediately expressed his admiration for the new champion via Twitter: “It looks like we got a new kid on the block.” Which means that a new star has established itself, as the golf legend continued to write who plays better and better, never loses his composure and who can also be expected in the future. The performance that Morikawa delivered on the four wonderful summer days on the English Channel coast impressed even his closest pursuer on Sunday. “He has the potential, the game and the head to remove all obstacles,” said Jordan Spieth. On Sunday, the 27-year-old Texan started the final round with two bogeys, but after 14 holes he moved up to Morikawa with one stroke. But Morikawa, playing directly behind him, also managed a birdie on this 14th hole. After that, the leader always sank the important putts and won in the end after a final round of 66 and a total of 265 strokes (15 under par). Spieth, who also needed 66 and a total of 267 strokes on Sunday, had to be content with second place. The South African Louis Oosthuizen (71/269), who was one stroke ahead of the last 18 holes with Morikawa, and the Spaniard Jon Rahm (66/269) shared third place. Ram, the Basque US Open Champion, took the lead in the world rankings again.
The explanation of why Morikawa triumphed in the treacherous place in the end comes from the statistics. He completed the last 31 holes without a single bogey, something that a champion had never done before. Morikawa also only needed 111 putts on all four days, the fewest of all participants. “I only appear in the PGA Tour’s putt statistics, ‘also ran’, but I always punch the putts when it matters,” says Morikawa, who is neither for his sensitivity on the greens nor for particularly long tee-offs the competition is admired.
Above all, his play with the irons, his precision when striking the green are the hallmarks of the new world number three. “It just swings beautifully. He is always in a position where it is difficult not to let the ball launch towards the target. He hits a 6 iron as precisely as others hit a 9. So it doesn’t matter if his tee-offs aren’t that far, ”enthuses Morikawa’s caddy Jonathan Jakovic. After finishing 71st at the Scottish Open last week, Morikawa switched 7, 8 and 9 irons and his putting grip to cope with the peculiarities of the game in the dune landscape. “That’s when I learned how to play links golf,” says Morikawa. Now the next chapter is due: “I have to learn to enjoy my successes better.” He also already knows how he wants to do it: “I will drink everything possible from the Claret Jug.”