Collin Morikawa says he 'owes a lot' to Scottish Open in East Lothian
Making his debut in the Rolex Series event at The Renaissance Club, the American finished joint-71st behind Australian Min Woo Lee after rounds of 70-67-71-73.
As Morikawa admitted himself, the performance on Scotland’s Golf Coast didn’t exactly make him one of the favourites for The Open at Royal St George’s the following week.
But, helped by some timely tweaks, he made a spectacular winning debut in golf’s oldest major, as had been the case when he won the US PGA Championship at Harding Park in California in 2020.
“Yeah, so the plan is absolutely to come back and play the Scottish Open,” said Morikawa of this July’s event, which is again taking place at The Renaissance Club but with Genesis as a new title sponsor.
“I owe a lot to that tournament for getting me ready (for The Open) and actually making me realise that I needed to change some irons.
“I come over, play the Scottish and I start hitting 9-irons to 45 feet, missing greens, and it was just frustrating. I wanted to blame it on my clubs, and rarely that's the case, but I really did. I stuck with it.
“I made some changes, and there we were at Royal St George's making a few changes on the Monday and ended up winning.”
In doing so, the Californian created history as the first player to win two majors at the first attempt. But, as he reflected on that feat in a press conference looking ahead to his title defence in the 150th Open at St Andrews in July, Morikawa almost laughed about how poorly he’d played at times the previous week on the East Lothian coast.
“If you just look at the scorecard and you look at how I played at the Scottish Open, no one would ever look at me to even contend at The Open,” declared the 25-year-old.
“First time being out here, first time playing links golf, but in my mind I felt like my game was there, I just needed to make a couple tweaks to make sure I wasn't hitting 9-irons to 45 feet.”
Morikawa, who is set to be joined in this year’s edition of the Scottish Open by Jordan Spieth, will be defending the Claret Jug on his first visit to St Andrews.
“When it comes to St Andrews, there is obviously the history and everything it represents. The Home of Golf,” he said. “I’ve never been to a golf course where really the entire town is encompassed around St Andrews.
“The love for the game. It breathes and lives through the town. That’s what I’m looking forward to experiencing. I look forward to going there and embracing everything. Being part of that town when everything is about The Open.
“Being defending champion at the 150th Open at St Andrews, you can’t script it any better other than being the defending champion at the 151st. Hopefully, I can pull it with the energy of those fans. It would be very, very special to defend at the 150th Open."