The strange circumstances surrounding this year’s PGA Championship meant the tournament didn’t quite get the same attention as it otherwise would have. After all, the coronavirus pandemic left such a dent in golf’s calendar, with events cancelled and postponed every day it seemed. Combine that with the fact that the PGA Championship does not hold the same traditions or prestige as the other three majors, and you can see why Collin Morikawa’s first major triumph might have gone under a lot of people’s radar.
But you only needed to see Morikawa’s smile as he sealed victory at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco to know how much it meant. After an outstanding final round score of 64, Morikawa had claimed his maiden major championship, beating nearest challengers Paul Casey and Dustin Johnson by two shots. It was a second win for the American since golf returned post lockdown, having triumphed at the Workday Charity Open a few weeks prior.
“It’s amazing,” Morikawa said. “As a little kid, watching all these professionals, this is always what I’ve wanted to do. I felt very comfortable from the start, as an amateur, junior golfer, turning professional last year. But to finally close it off and come out here in San Francisco, pretty much my second home where I spent the past four years, it’s pretty special.”
The best golfers are never satisfied with their lot, and with the US Open looming large on the horizon, Morikawa will be gearing himself up for another challenge for major championship success. He sits a little way back from the main contenders in the golf US Open betting odds, but with a good spell of form behind him and plenty of confidence in the tank, there’s no reason why he couldn’t deliver another fine performance at Winged Foot, New York.
The manner of Morikawa’s win at the PGA Championship will give him a sense of assurance over his own abilities. At one stage on the final day of the competition, there was a nine-way tie for the lead. To come out on top in such challenging circumstances and against such experienced competitors represented a fine achievement for the 23-year-old, and one that puts him in good stead for future success at the majors.
Morikawa’s natural talent when it comes to driving means that he will always give himself chances when he’s in form and hitting the fairways. Indeed, in San Francisco, he hit a gorgeous drive on the 18th hole in the final round to set up an eagle putt – the shot that essentially won him the tournament. With that kind of technical prowess, Morikawa has the potential to be contending at the top of the leaderboard in many majors to come.
He’ll have his work cut out to make it two majors out of two in 2020. The likes of Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm head into the US Open in excellent form, with Johnson looking to go one better this time after a number of T2 finishes in recent majors. Rahm is hungry for his first major championship triumph, and having won the recent BMW Championship, looks to be in fine fettle.
Then there are heavy hitters like Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy to contend with, as well as outside picks like Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Thomas. Morikawa proved he can mix it with the biggest names when he soared in San Francisco to win the PGA Championship, and while the US Open will be another immense challenge, Morikawa has the belief in himself and the ice in his veins required to win majors. Write him off at your peril.