Collin Morikawa continued his ascension in the professional ranks on Sunday with a three-stroke win at the World Golf Championships-Workday Championship at The Concession. The win was the fourth of his young career and the first since last August’s major breakthrough at the PGA Championship.
“It's so huge; no matter what anyone says, sleeping on a lead has its pressure, has its nerves,” said Morikawa. “It's a tough thing out here, but this tournament means so much. With how good the field was, how good my game felt, to close it out like this, with such a stacked leaderboard coming after me, really means a lot.”
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With the win, the 24-year-old moved to third in the Olympic Golf Rankings (based on the Official World Golf Ranking) behind Spaniard Jon Rahm and American Justin Thomas.
With the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 quickly approaching, Morikawa has positioned himself inside the top-four Americans to garner consideration. The top-15 players in the Olympic Golf Rankings will be eligible for the Olympics up to a maximum of four golfers per country. Currently for Team USA, the top-four Americans include Justin Thomas (No. 2), Morikawa (No. 3), Xander Schauffele (No. 4) and Patrick Cantlay (No. 6). Patrick Reed (No. 9) and Webb Simpson (No. 10) currently sit just outside the cutoff.
Morikawa – one of the best iron players in the sport – credited a new putting technique from World Golf Hall of Famer Mark O’Meara to his increased confidence around The Concession’s greens. He entered the week 213th in Strokes Gained: Putting on the season but finished 10th in the category at the WGC-Workday. He did it using a “saw” putting grip that involves rotating his right hand around to push the club through the hitting zone. O’Meara and Morikawa are both members at The Summit Club in Las Vegas.
“I saw Mark on [a] Friday, I believe, at Summit, where I practice in Vegas, and just asked him for 10 minutes,” reflected Morikawa. “And we were talking for maybe an hour. He wasn't giving me tips on how to do it, I was just asking him what he does and why he switched. I was still very hesitant…But talk about rolling it online and feeling comfortable, downhill, uphill, side hill, I knew I was heading down the right path. That's why I'm so excited about this, because, yes, I'm going to have bad putting weeks here and there, but overall I feel way more confident especially like on a putt like on 18, just to really roll the putter and get it rolling down the line.”