Collin Morikawa is a stone-cold killer. You wouldn’t know it from looking at him of course. Forget that he’s well spoken, polite and spouts wisdom beyond his years. Definitely ignore the 1.21-jiga-watt smile.
As if we needed any further confirmation that the winner of two majors before his 25th birthday — including the British Open in July — has that rare X-factor to go along with a deadly iron game, Morikawa answered what he learned about himself at the Ryder Cup.
“That I love being in that position,” he said. “I mean, I was more nervous on the Walker Cup tee shot, which is crazy to even think about, than my first Ryder Cup tee shot, which I don’t know if many people could say that, but I just loved being in that moment.”
Major winners and Hall of Famers have been shaken to the core at the first tee of Ryder Cups – see colleague Steve DiMeglio’s story if you haven’t already – but not Morikawa. This is the same guy who at the Ryder Cup turned to partner Dustin Johnson and said, “Let’s step on their necks.”
Stone. Cold. Killer.
Morikawa also said he learned valuable lessons about himself that will help in future team competitions, majors and regular PGA Tour events, such as this week’s Zozo Championship in Chiba, Japan. Morikawa, who is of Japanese descent, is making his fifth trip to Japan dating to 2016, and fourth to play golf.
“I’ve pretty much come back once a year almost and it’s just getting better and better,” said Morikawa, who finished T-22 at the Zozo in 2019 and lost out in a playoff for the bronze medal at the Summer Olympics in August. That competition was played without fans, who will be a welcome addition to Morikawa this week.
“These are some of the best fans,” Morikawa said. “I was here earlier for the Olympics and we didn’t have anyone and it just felt dull. Even though it was the Olympics and we knew what we were playing for, it just, it has a different feeling when you have fans. I remember my first tee shot out here two years ago when there were fans on stools and lined up five, six people deep. They would cheer for you walking to tee boxes, hitting every tee shot whether it’s good or bad.”
Being back and Japan has been a very positive experience for the golfer. By far, one of his favorite things about being back has been indulging in his favorite Japanese cuisines.
“All of it,” he said. “I think it’s the best. I can come out here and stay for a month, I wish, and just eat and I probably would not look the same coming back.”
Morikawa is even taking some of the up-and-coming golfers under his wing. Keith Nakajima is a top World amateur and was given some great advice by Morikawa. He told Nakajima to not rush and to take everything is stride. Morikawa knows that Nakajima will see success in the pros in no time.
Morikawa recorded his best result since winning the British Open at last week’s CJ Cup at The Summit, a runner-up finish to Rory McIlroy in Las Vegas. Morikawa overcame a slow start, shooting 17 under on the weekend, which included a final-round 62. With the wisdom of a Japanese sensei, Morikawa explained how sometimes the smallest adjustments can lead to the biggest results.
“I tell myself when I’m playing bad, these are big lessons I want to learn from and make sure I don’t try and repeat them, but when I’m playing good, sometimes I forget what I did as well,” he said. “And it’s not as simple as just taking a swing video when you’re playing well and you can remember that. It’s just little things that sometimes you forget about them because you worry about something else or you’re trying to work on another part of your game, but it’s stick to your strengths and keep pushing those.”
Morikawa has taken the golf world by storm. He has shown us what he can do when the pressure is on and makes it look easy. One day, Morikawa aims to be able to travel the world and win tournaments. He is already starting on that dream with some upcoming stops overseas. It was just announced that Morikawa is in the field of competitors for Tiger Wood’s 2021 Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. He sees a lot more travel in his future.
“You want your game to travel,” he said. “That’s why I’m a European Tour member, that’s why I play a lot or I try and play a lot in different places.”
And that, too, is what makes him a stone-cold killer.
This article originally appeared on Golfweek.