One major tournament victory is impressive enough, creating increased expectations for any golfer able to pull off that achievement.
Two majors — never mind two in two years — and now Las Vegas resident Collin Morikawa will face expectations on a different level.
Maybe not Tiger Woods’ level, but certainly more than the 24-year-old already has experienced.
“They’re going to be pretty lofty,” said Patrick Lindsey, executive director of the Shriners Hospitals for Children’s Open at TPC Summerlin. “He’s going to be a safe bet for a long time just because he seems to be so well put together. Not a lot of stuff fazes him. He also comes across as being very private, so you’re not going to see him out too much putting him in jeopardy. So I think he’s going to have a long, very good career. He’s going to be one of the best to come out in a while.”
Morikawa, who moved to Southern Nevada two years ago after graduating from California, won the PGA Championship last year with the aid of one of the top shots of the year. He went for the green at No. 16 from 332 yards, reaching it to set up an eagle.
Then on Sunday, Morikawa won the British Open with a 4-under 66 in a bogey-free final round. He had been lurking all weekend, waiting for his opportunity.
“It not only says a lot about his skill as a golfer but his mentality going out there and working his way around the golf course,” Lindsey said. “He said if he hadn’t played the week before at the Scottish Open, he wouldn’t have been as well prepared for the Open championship this week. He obviously had a game plan going into it and executed that over these last couple of weeks.”
Morikawa’s two majors before reaching 25 puts him in the same company as Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gene Sarazen, Bobby Jones, Seve Ballesteros, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth. Getting there in eight tournaments is the quickest since Jones in 1926.
“I’m sure a lot of golfers out there wish they knew the key to (Morikawa’s) success,” Lindsey said. “He’s obviously extremely gifted and talented, but what’s really remarkable about him is he seems to be so humble.”
This is quite a year for Las Vegas golfers.
Morikawa is one of three heading to Tokyo to compete in the Olympics. Joining him on the U.S. team is Danielle Kang on the women’s side, and Bishop Gorman High School graduate Inbee Park will compete for South Korea.