Morikawa Headlines a Memorable Open

Photo Courtesy of Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR

We all love the Masters, but nothing beats tuning into the Open Championship—and not just because you can conceivably watch all the action on Saturday and Sunday and then get in 36 holes of your own each day.

Not having it in 2020 made the anticipation for this year’s version all the more special—and it didn’t disappoint.

With his precise driving, crisp iron shots and clutch putting, Collin Morikawa put on an awesome exhibition.

His confidence and poise in handling big moments continued into his victory speech. He graciously saluted the amateur winner, Matthias Schmid, and the fans at Royal St. George’s, even inspiring many of them to sing “Happy Birthday” to his caddie, J.J. Jakovac.

The smiling, engaging 24-year-old Californian can take a mulligan for erroneously and endearingly calling himself “Championship Golfer of the Year.”

We saw history, as Morikawa became the first player to win his debut in two major championships.

But what else did we see?

We watched Marcel Siem—the man-bunned heir to Miguel Ángel Jiménez—become a crowd favorite.

We saw Colorado AvidGolfer’s June cover subject Bryson DeChambeau act like the carpenter who blames the toolmaker for his sorry nail pounding and then get rightfully hammered by Cobra, to whom he sheepishly apologized.

We also saw Bryson slashing through rough so thick, it reminded one spectator of “one of the monster spectator buses trying to negotiate the cobbled streets of Sandwich.” 

We witnessed that same dense fescue send home reedy Will Zalatoris  (CAG’s July cover subject), after he wrenched his back trying to hack out of it. Did it have to be that penal?

We saw Tyrrell Hatton blow a gasket on Friday, snapping his wedge and flipping off a fan.

We saw the eminently likeable Shrek, Louie Oosthuizen, wilt after another stellar start. Despite setting a 36-hole scoring record and going into Sunday with a one-shot lead, Louie’s final round 71 dropped him into a tie for third, four shots out of first.

We saw Jon Rahm and Bryson’s buddy, Brooks Koepka, make a Sunday charge. So did Jordan Spieth, who drew to within a shot of Morikawa.

Photo Courtesy of Oisin Keniry/Getty Images.

But we also saw—and wondered how—Spieth could have turned those two birdie opportunities into painful bogeys on the final two holes on Saturday. That putt he missed on 18 would have even been conceded in the Ryder Cup.

We saw those two shots become the margin of Morikawa’s victory. But they were more than that. Those two shots, as we saw and heard the 2017 Open Champion say in his stand-up post-tournament interview, kept him out of the final pairing on Sunday. Had he saved those strokes, it would have been him, not Morikawa, dueling with Oosthuizen.

And, as we all saw, it was Morikawa, not Spieth, who’ll get to keep the Claret Jug for the next 365 days.

Then we get to watch all over again, this time at the Old Course at St Andrews, where golf was born and the sport’s oldest major championship will take place for the 150th time.

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