The world of golf witnessed one of the most remarkable feats in the sport’s history this weekend when Colin Morikawa, 23, picked up the PGA Championship having remarkably only turned pro last June.
Morikawa was flawless in his final round to dash Paul Casey and England’s hopes of a first USPGA title in 101 years. He emerged on Sunday in the midst of a tight leaderboard packed with some of the biggest names in golf, shot a jaw-dropping bogey-free 64, equalling the lowest final round by a PGA champion in the process, winning by two strokes, and became just the seventh player since 1934 to claim a major in his first or second start. Only Jack Nicklaus, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods had won the PGA under the age of 24 before him - that’s some good company he finds himself in.
The crazy thing is, it seems that nobody on the course was surprised by Morikawa’s maiden success, not least Morikawa himself. “Any time you’re in the conversation of the greats, Jack, Rory, Tiger, no matter who it is,” said Morikawa after his triumph, “you’re doing something well.”
Cool, calm, collected and seemingly unflappable, Morikawa’s potential might be golfing’s best kept secret to the wider world, but his ability is anything but a secret to his peers according to Casey: “I don’t like the term ‘talent,’ but you know when somebody is good, and Colin was good. We could just tell. Those of us who knew, knew that was the cat that we kind of – he’s the one. Even if the media weren’t talking, that’s where we were focusing our attention. And we weren’t wrong.”
He’s already got some serious pedigree, too. This year’s PGA Championship was just his second major overall, following last year’s U.S. Open, and his first as a professional.
With pinpoint accuracy, sublime putting and a maturity that goes well beyond his years, Morikawa’s arrival on the scene this weekend echoes that of Messrs Woods and McIlroy in 1997 and 2011 respectively - and like those two, Morikawa is confident we’ll see even more of him in the future.
Collin Morikawa wins the 2020 PGA Championship!
“When I woke up today, I was like, this is meant to be. This is where I want to be, and I’m not scared from it,” he said on Sunday.
“For me, it doesn’t stop here. I’ve got a very good taste of what this is like, what a major championship is like.”
Could we be looking at the man who might one day surpasses Rory, Tiger and Jack?