Morikawa wins Workday Charity Open for 'amazing' second TOUR title
July 12, 2020
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
Collin Morikawa nearly aces No. 12 at Workday
DUBLIN, Ohio – Collin Morikawa knew what he had to do.
He had just seen a prayer of a 50-foot birdie putt drop into the cup. And like those two dozen people standing by the 18th green at Muirfield Village, including Rickie Fowler, who was filming the playoff on his smart phone, he had heard Justin Thomas’ guttural yell in celebration.
If Morikawa was going to have any chance of winning the inaugural Workday Charity Open, he had to convert his own birdie putt from 24 feet on that first playoff hole. There was no other option. So, he gathered himself and huddled with his caddie, J.J. Jakovac.
“We agreed on a line, hit it perfect exactly how we wanted, and really helped that J.T. had that putt about halfway in between during regulation,” Morikawa recalled. “So, I kind of knew what it did at the end. So as long as I got my line started on there, we had a good shot at making it.”
And he did. That clutch putt didn’t seal Morikawa’s victory – he would two-putt from 10 feet on the third extra hole to make that happen – but it was the signature moment in a roller-coaster afternoon of lead changes and emotion that Thomas would later call simply a “bizarre” day.
Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa drain long-range birdies on first playoff hole at Workday
“It would have been a fun day to have some fans just in terms of the ups and downs and the shot making,” acknowledged the disappointed runner-up, who lost a two-shot lead on the front nine, then built it back to three on the back with five birdies and an eagle in an eight-hole stretch.
Thomas unraveled with bogeys on the 16th and 18th holes, though, and coupled with Morikawa’s 8-foot birdie putt on No. 17, the stage was set for the frantic and frenetic playoff. As Morikawa later said, it was a “long, long 21 holes.”
Later, though, after fulfilling all his media obligations, the winner could relax. He posted a photo of himself holding the crystal trophy on Instagram. Morikawa was sipping one of Muirfield Village’s signature chocolate milkshakes, too.
“Well done. Not our last battle! Congrats, brotha” responded the respectful Thomas, who had spoken Saturday about how he expected to have Morikawa as a teammate on Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup teams in the not-too-distant future.
The win was the second of Morikawa’s career, which not coincidentally gives him more victories than he has missed cuts and lifted him to sixth in the FedExCup. The steady 23-year-old, who closed with a 66, had a streak of 22 straight weekends played, second only to the great Tiger Woods, that ended at the Travelers Championship two weeks ago.
Not to mention, Morikawa nearly won the Charles Schwab Challenge, the first PGA TOUR event played after the COVID-19 hiatus, five weeks ago. He was involved in a playoff there, too, but missed a 4-footer on the first extra hole to lose to Daniel Berger.
Morikawa called Sunday’s win, which came on one of the TOUR’s most respected courses in Muirfield Village, “amazing.” And he’ll get a chance to make it an unusual two-in-a-row at Jack Nicklaus’ place this week at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide.
Morikawa made it clear on Sunday he wants to be known for more than consistency – not only by his words but by his actions.
“This is a huge kind of stepping-stone,” he said. “We got No. 1 out of the way, we got No. 2, let the gates just open and let's just keep going because obviously it was a tough loss at Colonial a month ago, but I learned a lot. I learned a lot from last week or a week and a half ago at Travelers after my missed cut.
“This is just more positives, more learning for me, and I've got to go back to, okay, what did I do great, what did I do wrong this week, how can I get better, move on to next week and make a lot of birdies.”
This time last year, Morikawa had his degree in business administration from the University of California-Berkeley in hand, but his post-graduate work was just beginning on the PGA TOUR.
He earned his PGA TOUR card the hard way, gaining status as a special temporary member before winning his sixth start the Barracuda Championship, played opposite the World Golf Championships-FedEx Championship, to lock up job security for the next two years.
Collin Morikawa wins at Barracuda Championship
Ironically, one of those helping him along the way was Thomas, who invited Morikawa to dinner the week he made his pro debut at the RBC Canadian Open.
“He's someone that has kind of helped me just get comfortable,” Morikawa said. “Props to him. He's an awesome player, awesome dude, as well.
“I wouldn't say he's like been there every practice round for me but making things easier and just telling me when we had that dinner just over a year ago, just telling me if you're good enough, you're going to get out here at some point. Everyone's path is different. You don't know how quick or how slow it's going to get there, but if you're good enough you're going to get here.”
Not only has Morikawa, who won a Korn Ferry Tour event as a freshman in college, gotten to the game’s highest level, he’s solidified his spot there. He’s nothing if not a fast learner, and more days like Sunday are only going to help.
“It’s not a surprise,” he said honestly. “It's just a lot of belief in myself that I could do this, and like I said, I go back to being comfortable. Comfortable, I think is the best word for a lot of these guys out here because they've been out here for many years.
“They know the courses, they know where to hit it, and for me it's getting as comfortable as I can as quickly as I can. I felt a lot more comfortable in this first hole playoff than I did in that last playoff at Colonial, but I still wouldn't say I'm at where I felt perfectly fine.
“By the second playoff hole today I felt very comfortable, and I knew let's just play some golf.”
And that’s what Morikawa does best.