Brooklyn, Massachusetts. Previously on the verge of taking over the world number one spot, Colin Morikawa instead slipped to seventh place.
For a player who has enjoyed a smooth and steady rise through the pro ranks – from one win in 2019, to two in 2020, to three last year – the rare dearth of performance has been a source of frustration.
“This whole year has been weird,” Morikawa said on Tuesday at the US Open. “I’ve been famous for ironing and I’ve been known to get injured. That shot just wasn’t there.”
The full tee times for the US Open
Always a more efficient worker than the racket, Morikawa said he’s scored more time on the range this year than at any time in his career. His recent results haven’t been terrible – four in a row outside the top 25, after finishing fifth alone in the Masters – but he’s still without any world victory. If nothing else, it was a surprisingly quiet stretch for a rising star who was a high end away from climbing to world No. 1 for the first time.
“I think it taught me a lot about the kind of player I am,” he said. “I just want to be able to play golf. I think the best guys are here, it doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad. They are able to put the ball in the hole, and I was very worried about trying to hit that cut – like almost making a cut. Why not just play? Miss or why don’t you play my shot form? That’s what Rory [McIlroy]Tiger [Woods]All the greats before us, they only worked with what they had.”
Statistically, there was no significant decrease. This season, Morikawa still ranks fifth in close-to-play, taking more than 0.8 strokes per round on the field with his iron. Last season, he led the Tour in that division (1.170). It was not reliably consistent.
So why does that happen?
Morikawa and swing coach Rick Sisinghouse are still considering the part.
They know it’s about countering the control with their iron, but they haven’t “won the jackpot yet.” Morikawa bored every swing video in his phone and tried every swing he thinks he’s used since college.
“We’ll take it back,” he said. “I’m not saying I’m going to tie for the rest of my life. I’m sure the cuts will be back in the next month or so, but it’s a strange thing in golf.”
Although he expressed support for the PGA Tour, Morikawa said the conversation going on about the competitors’ tour was a “distraction,” even for someone like him, who has largely avoided the headlines.
“When you wake up and text my agent or text my boyfriend, hey, have you heard about this? It’s fun, it’s sexy, because it’s gossip. And who doesn’t like gossiping, right? But it also becomes a distraction, and you don’t want to focus on this or that.” You want to focus on playing golf,” he said.
“I would say for the past six months – I wouldn’t blame it on any part of my golf. Put that aside. But it’s an extra distraction when thinking about this, or thinking about it or worrying about who’s going to ask what.”