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Collin Morikawa set his sights on further major glory in the immediate aftermath of winning the Open Championship. He made history at Royal St George’s by becoming the first debutant to win both the US PGA Championship and the Open. Morikawa’s victory was by two shots from Jordan Spieth. He is now halfway towards a career grand slam of majors.
“At 24 years old, it’s so hard to look back at the two short years that I have been a pro and see what I’ve done because I want more,” Morikawa said.
“I enjoy these moments and I love it. I want to teach myself to embrace it a little more, maybe spend a few extra days and sit back and drink out of this [Claret Jug]. But I just want more.
“When you’re in these moments and you truly love what you do … I love playing golf and competing against these guys, these are the best moments ever because the nerves push you to just be a better person. You have to be excited about these opportunities and that’s how I looked at it today, especially coming down the stretch.”
When asked the secret to his latest success, Morikawa delivered an unorthodox answer. “I never do this, but I had a burger for four straight days,” he said. “So my body is probably feeling it. I know my body’s feeling it.
“ By the time I was at the US PGA last year, I had already played in these events with all these guys, all the big name guys, and it felt like a normal event. I came out this week not worried about playing against everyone else. I’m just trying to learn the golf course.”
Onlookers were left to remark upon how nerveless Morikawa appeared in Kent. He did not bogey a single hole during a closing round of 66. Louis Oosthuizen, the overnight leader and playing in Morikawa’s company, slipped to a one-over-par 71 to share third with Jon Rahm.
“I’m glad I look calm because the nerves are definitely up there,” Morikawa said. “But you channel these nerves into excitement and energy, and that puts you away from like a fear factor into: ‘This is something I want.’
“You’re going to hit bad shots but I was able to get a way out of it and make some crucial putts. My putting stats in general might not be up there but they came in the moment I needed them.
“I had nothing to prove. I had nothing to prove to myself today. I have been able to do it. I’ve closed out tournaments before. To be cemented on the Claret Jug with countless names, countless Hall of Famers, countless people that I’ve looked up to, not just from golf, but outside of golf, it’s so special.”
Morikawa’s next appearance will be in the Olympic Games. His Open success is a major boost to golf’s involvement in Tokyo, given a raft of high-profile player withdrawals. “I’ll have the same goal, to win,” Morikawa said. “But it’s also to make memories. I’m going to be called an Olympian for life.
“It’s going to be the coolest experience. I’m very happy that the golf is in the Olympics now because it just adds that extra incentive to add something to your resumé that not a lot of people can do. Any time you’re able to represent your country, the USA, it means a lot.”
Spieth, who finished his third round poorly, thought he was negatively affected by not playing in the final group alongside Morikawa.
“I’ve been in that position a lot of times, and it’s a lot nicer when stuff’s happening in front of you and you can control it,” Spieth said. “You can still birdie that hole, versus I get off the 16th today and it’s like: ‘Well, they could birdie behind and there’s nothing I can do about it now.’”