Collin Morikawa, after Memorial WD, relying on LACC experience for hometown USO win
LOS ANGELES – Competitors at the U.S. Open are adamant that the recent PGA Tour-PIF agreement won’t cause any distractions. There’s too much at stake, with future legacies to be reshaped and a career-defining achievement on the table.
But for Colin Morikawa, it’s his past providing the necessary motivation to fight off any unnecessary mental intrusions.
“This is a major that I cared about when I was in college and I knew about LACC hosting a U.S. Open,” Morikawa said Tuesday. “I didn’t know where my path was going to be. I didn’t know if I was going to be on Tour, if I was going to have to qualify for this, and, right, four years, pretty much four years since I’ve been pro.
“I didn’t know where I was going to be, but this is the one that I wanted to make it and be at just because it is home for me. This week means so much. It always will be. It’ll always be really special.”
The Los Angeles native, and graduate of La Cañada High School, started this special week by staying at his parents’ house Saturday night. It was just a 45-minute drive, without traffic, to get to LACC Sunday to officially begin his preparation.
And much of that preparation will rely on past memories. Morikawa first saw the course in 2016, anticipating his inclusion in the following year’s Walker Cup. He went undefeated that year, with fond recollections of a certain 8-and-7 victory alongside Norman Xiong to open the competition.
“I have good memories, good shots out here, which is going to be nice to kind of go back on hopefully and hit some of those,” Morikawa said.
If Morikawa is to find himself in contention this week, he’ll have to brush aside a back injury that led him to withdraw from the final round of the Memorial Tournament two weeks ago. The two-time major champion was just two shots off the lead entering Sunday’s play in Dublin, Ohio, when he tweaked something while doing some morning “reactive exercises.”
“Who knows (what) could have happened, but it’s very unfortunate. It sucked,” Morikawa said. “It’s a course that I loved. I took a few days off, got some rest, got some rehab, talked with my team, we got started hitting balls late last week, and we’re swinging fine.”
The swing is fine, but Morikawa admits his routine on tee shots might look a little weird this week. As the old-man advice goes: bend with the knees, not the back.
“I pretty much squat down and tee it up,” he said.
On Sunday, he hopes the only strain on his back comes from lifting the trophy.