Collin Morikawa is technically coming off the worst season of his career with his irons, but not all slumps are created equally.
The two-time major champion ranked third on the PGA Tour in strokes gained: approach the green throughout the 2021-22 season. He led the Tour in that category in his rookie season and finished second in 2020-21.
Morikawa discussed his iron play ahead of the U.S. Open at Brookline.
“This entire year has been weird,” Morikawa said. “I’ve been known for my irons and known to hit cuts. That shot just hasn’t been there.”
He was right. It was weird seeing Morikawa fight his baby-fade that he all but trademarked on his way to a PGA Championship and claret jug.
The small dip in performance with the irons, combined with an underwhelming short game – 152nd in strokes gained: around the green and 131st in strokes gained: putting – left the former Cal Golden Bear winless throughout an entire season for the first time in his career.
Morikawa has been hinting that he might’ve recaptured the magic that catapulted him to stardom, and it was on full display Thursday at the Presidents Cup.
Paired with Cameron Young, the ninth-ranked player in the world put on a show in the alternate-shot format, hitting 10 approach shots closer than 26 feet.
Here’s a look at just how impressive Morikawa was on Day 1: