DUBLIN, Ohio – PGA Tour winners in the COVID-19 era are encountering a unique dilemma: How to celebrate a significant achievement in the age of social distancing?
For most, it’s been a subdued celebration with a few bubble-mates, then onto the next tournament. Collin Morikawa, the champion Sunday at the Workday Charity Open, is on to the next too ... but he’s staying put. Morikawa won the first leg of the Muirfield Village doubleheader, in an early-afternoon playoff over Justin Thomas, and then spent the evening celebrating with, well, a couple of strangers.
“I’ve got no one here,” he said with a laugh.
No girlfriend. No family. No friends. His caddie, J.J. Jakovac, is spending the fortnight at his pal’s parents’ house, so Morikawa found himself there Sunday night. They grilled steaks and had a couple of drinks, reflecting on the week. Then he headed back to his hotel room, to recover for the next week.
“It wasn’t a crazy party like some guys might have had,” he said, “but it was nice knowing that I could come back, stay at my hotel again, and then we’re back here for another week.”
It’s the first time since 1957 that the Tour will play at the same venue in consecutive weeks. The 23-year-old Morikawa will soon have plenty of experience managing his post-victory energy and prep, but for now he’s learning on the fly. He spent nearly the entire day Monday in bed, stretching out and responding to the 250-plus text messages that continue to roll in.
At least at Muirfield Village he can feel like a veteran. In just his second year on Tour, he now knows how to get to the course, where the practice facility is, how he needs to attack the course.
“Everything is really familiar to me,” he said. “So I think that helps me.”
So does the fact that he’s coming off a win, after shooting 19 under and beating Thomas in a three-hole playoff.
“I still have to be ready by Thursday morning,” he said. “Last week doesn’t matter at all; it’s not like I start at 19 under. I’ve got to go out and start making birdies again.”