The 'NextGen' child prodigy dominates the elders

Collin Morikawa turned professional in 2019, the year in which players like Wolff or Hovland also arrived. A year later, he has his first major.

The-'NextGen'-child-prodigy-dominates-the-elders

The future of world golf is in very good hands, and the PGA Championship has served to prove it. Collin Morikawa, just 23 years old, won the first major of his short career in San Francisco. He turned professional in 2019, the year in which Viktor Hovland (22 years old) and Matthew Wolff (21), fourth in the PGA, did the same. A year earlier, Scottie Scheffler (24) did it, who led the tournament on Sunday, and two years ago it was Cameron Champ (25), also in the top 10.

However, the jewel of this 'NextGen' of golf is Morikawa. He was born on February 6, 1997 in La Cañada Flintridge, Los Angeles, where he spent his childhood, although his paternal grandparents are from Maui, an island in the Hawaiian archipelago, and his ancestry is Japanese. "I started playing golf practically when I learned to walk. I fell in love with the game. My first classes were at a camp when I was five years old," he says of his beginnings in golf.

At the age of seven, Collin met Rick Sessinghaus. "His father asked me to coach him. I saw him hit the ball and I said of course. I came home and told my wife that this boy was special," says Sessinghaus, who has been his coach ever since. In his high school years, Morikawa had to decide between golf - which he finally stayed with - and baseball, in which he also excelled. In his last year of high school, he won a tournament of 300 participants with 14 strokes of difference over the second.In 2015, he went to the University of Berkeley, in California, where he continued to compete and graduated four years later in Business Administration. During his university stage, Morikawa had five victories and 35 top ten in 48 events played. "His performance puts him at the level of the best athletes in the history of this institution. He improves every day and has one of the best shots in the country. In addition, he is a model student and a great leader," said one of his coaches in those years.

He was selected for the Walker Cup, the Ryder for amateurs, in which he swept 4-0 in their matches. In 2019, it was number one in the world ranking of amateur golf for three weeks. In the middle of that same year, Morikawa turned professional after many successes as an amateur. In his first tournament on the PGA Tour, he was in the top 15. He was second in his fourth event, and in the sixth, the Barracuda Championship, came his first victory. Later he played the US Open 2019, his first major, in which he made the cut and finished 35th.

If 2019 was a great start, 2020 is confirmation that there will be much talk about Morikawa in the next decade. He made the cut consecutively in his first 22 tournaments as a professional - only Tiger (25) improves that figure. After losing the Charles Schwab Challenge in the tiebreaker with a mistake on a practically given putt, and failing to make the cut at the Travelers Championship (the only tournament he has not played in the weekend in his entire career), Morikawa pulled himself together and he won the Workday Charity Open, also in the tiebreaker, against a player of the caliber of Justin Thomas. Less than a month later, Morikawa won the PGA Championship, the second major in which he participated and his 27th tournament on the PGA Tour as a professional, with the best weekend in the history of the centennial tournament (129 hits) .

Collin's PGA victory is a clear sign that Morikawa will do great things in golf. "My goal is to win many majors and be number one in the world," he said a few months ago. At 23, he is already fifth in the world rankings and is the third youngest player to win the PGA Championship since 1946 - behind only McIlroy and Nicklaus, and ahead of Tiger. To understand how young and good Morikawa is, here are two cold facts: This year, Collin played a game with Tiger Woods at the Farmers Insurance Open. It was the first time the Tigre played a PGA Tour event with a golfer born after he turned pro. The second is that the American has won as many majors (1) as cuts has not passed (1) .

At the moment, Morikawa is the first golfer to achieve great success among a whole group of players who aim for the highest and, little by little, they are making a place among the best in the world. The recital he gave on Sunday at TPC Harding Park, with anthological hits on 14 and 16, are inappropriate for a player of his age, but they are typical of special players, born to succeed.



Photos from as.com
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