MAMARONECK, N.Y. – Collin Morikawa has been a major champion for only five weeks, so there hasn’t been much time to savor the accomplishment. Following his breakthrough victory at the PGA Championship, there were new sponsor obligations and interview requests and, oh yeah, the very real need to keep up his world-class form with the FedExCup playoffs and two major championships still to play this year.
So, what’s changed since then?
Not much, physically. His game is still in great shape. He’s coming off a solid performance at East Lake. But mentally, as he entered the gates here at Winged Foot, he felt like a changed man.
“Walking here as a major champion, you have a sense of knowing how to get things done,” he said. “Yes, I’ve only done it once, but I’ve done it. You just want it more.”
Morikawa is up to fifth in the world ranking and, considering his myriad gifts, one of the leading contenders at the year’s second major. In some ways, the pressure is off. Jordan Spieth, after winning the first two majors of 2015, spoke often about the benefit of “freewheeling.” That others wanted what he had – a major trophy – and they’d be feeling more stress and anxiety than he would.
As a 23-year-old major champion, he already enjoys that freedom, unlike the major-less studs such as Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau or Xander Schauffele.
“It’s nice, I guess, I won’t get that question asked,” Morikawa said. “But now it’s going to be what’s next and what are you going to win next. But that’s the thing; I’m not waking up every day realizing, Yeah, I’m a major champion. I’m realizing: We’re at the U.S. Open, let’s go win another tournament.”