Five days after he made a major championship his third pro victory, PGA champ Collin Morikawa took 30 minutes on Friday to reminisce with 3M Open officials, corporate and charitable partners, and volunteers by video conference call.
All at the age of 23.
He did so as a thank you for the chance to play in the inaugural 3M Open on a sponsor’s exemption last summer during his PGA Tour rookie season and to sort of apologize for not returning last month in this pandemic-shortened season.
He answered questions and chatted days after he struck one of major championship golf’s unforgettable shots for an eagle 2 on the drivable par-4 16th hole at Harding Park. That allowed him to shoot a 64 and win by two shots Sunday in San Francisco. He did so with Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry — a friend of his caddie — cheering him on.
“It’s Friday now, it’s all a blur,” Morikawa said. “I don’t think it has sunk in. I don’t know when it will.”
He didn’t play this week’s tour event, so unlike after his first two pro victories, he has had all week to unwind and do virtual appearances such as Friday’s video call.
“It’s actually good to sit back and somewhat relax,” said Morikawa, a former college star at California. “Hearing PGA champion and people calling me that is kind of surreal. But it has a nice ring to it.”
He won the Barracuda Championship last summer three weeks after he tied for second at the 3M Open in his fourth pro start. He tied Bryson DeChambeau and was one shot behind buddy Matthew Wolff after Wolff’s 26-foot eagle putt won it all on the final hole at TPC Twin Cities. He made last month’s Workday Charity Open his second career victory in a sizzling playoff over Justin Thomas before he won his first major just a month later.
All of it wouldn’t have been possible without that Sunday down the stretch paired with his pal in Blaine.
“The 3M, that’s where it all started,” Morikawa said. “I had solid finishes before that, but that Sunday helped me ease into what that final-round pressure turns into. I finished second there, go to John Deere and finish fourth, go to Barracuda and win. That three-week stretch locked up everything I could have asked for …
“I know that’s not the last time that’s going to happen, but it’s always going to be the first. Both of us will always remember that. Matt will remember it for his first win, but I’m going to remember that so much because that’s the first time I really came down the stretch tied for the lead.”
Morikawa earlier this summer e-mailed 3M Open staff to express his disappointment that his schedule didn’t allow him to play this year. That’s how Friday’s call came about.
“I really did miss being back in Minnesota,” he said. “I really hope next year everything fits into the 3M and I’m able to come back and not finish second. I look forward to that.”