NEW YORK (AFP) – Collin Morikawa says he is hungry for more major titles as he prepares to back up last month’s maiden victory at the PGA Championship with an assault on this week’s 120th US Open at Winged Foot.
The 23-year-old from Los Angeles confirmed his emergence as one of golf’s brightest talents in August with his PGA win at Harding Park, where his final round 64 earned him a two-shot victory.
That assured display came in only the second major appearance of Morikawa’s fledgling professional career, which began in 2019 after a successful stint in amateur and collegiate golf.
Morikawa said on Tuesday (Sept 15) the experience of closing out victory at the PGA Championship had left him eager to add to his major tally this week in New York.
“Walking here as a major champion, you have a sense of knowing how to get things done,” Morikawa told reporters on Tuesday.
“Yes, I’ve only done it once, but I’ve done it. You just want more. You get that little taste of what it’s like, and you know why guys mark in their calendars the major championships for the year.”
Morikawa can also prepare for Thursday’s opening round unencumbered by the albatross that still hangs around the necks of other players of his generation, who are still chasing a first major title.
“It’s nice I won’t get that question asked,” Morikawa said.
“But now it’s going to be ‘What’s next?’ and ‘What are you going to win next?’
“But that’s the thing; I’m not waking up every day realising, ‘Yeah, I’m a major champion.’ I’m realising we’re at the US Open, let’s go win another tournament.
“So for me it’s always what’s next, what is going to be the next test of golf, and obviously it’s this week.”
Morikawa secured victory at the PGA Championship with one of the greatest pressure shots in major history, hitting a driver off the 294-yard par-four 16th hole to within seven feet of the pin before rolling in an eagle putt.
That effectively proved to be the difference between Morikawa and his closest rivals, world number one Dustin Johnson and England’s Paul Casey.
“There are definitely guys that are clutch in moments, and every PGA Tour player wouldn’t be here – they wouldn’t be on the PGA Tour, they wouldn’t be at the US Open if they weren’t clutch,” Morikawa said.
“It’s just who is going to step up to the next moment. We’re on a different stage now. It’s not just another amateur event or another college event or whatever it is. This is the big time. This is the major.
“You’ve got to step up, and you can’t be scared of taking another step because that puts you in another level of golf.”