05-26 Pre-Tournament Interview with Collin Morikawa

THE MODERATOR: We started the return back to golf last year and going through the last tournament, what memories does it bring back being here.

COLLIN MORIKAWA: Yeah, it's crazy to think that we are all the way back here where we started nearly a year ago or a year ago, whatever it's been. But it's been good. A lot of good memories. Obviously one pretty poor memory but it taught me a lot. Taught me a lot about myself. Taught me a lot about how to move forward and how to keep getting better and just really staying in the present, not get ahead of myself and I really etched that into my head, helped me in the playoff later that year at the Workday, Muirfield against the playoff with J.T., and helped me continue to play better golf.

Obviously I wish I had the win but we are here again this year. I'm playing pretty well. Working on a few things as we all are every week but overall the game feels good and it's good to be back at a spot that I'm pretty comfortable at.

Q. Coming off last week Top-10 finish, what's been cooking and what can you assess about your game?

COLLIN MORIKAWA: I've been hitting the ball really well. It's windy out there and it's hard to tell really what shot you're hitting but I was able to control my ball in the wind. So I knew what I was doing. I knew what I was able to do.

So kind of coming out here to a course where the rough is actually pretty long and it's wet this week, fairways are going to be huge. I'm going to be able to attack pins if I'm in the fairway. So trying to get that ball in the fairway as much as I can and hopefully roll some putts in. Been working the past few days a lot on putting and how to just be a little before consistent. It's still a work-in-progress, but hopefully we are heading down the right path.

Q. Runner-up finish at Colonial last year, what matches with your game on this course?

COLLIN MORIKAWA: I think I can hit my fade off a lot of tees. There's a couple holes out here where I'm not really able to work it but like I said there's smaller greens out here so you've got to be precise with your irons. I think guys are going to get away with a couple shots with how soft the greens are so far.

If we get a little lucky with weather and it starts to dry up, iron shots are going to be huge. Just being able to kind of pick your targets with small greens and tucked pins, especially coming off last week, you have bigger greens, some pins were not as tucked as we normally see them just because of the wind. It's going to be how you dial that in with your approach shots.

Q. With the weather, you weren't able to probably get on the course as much as you like but was that nice coming off last week? Did you take time off, taking a break in between?

COLLIN MORIKAWA: Yeah, it was good to relax a little bit. Took Monday morning off. Putted a little bit in the afternoon. Yesterday I actually tried coming really early to get ahead of the storm and it came a little earlier than expected. So kind of a long day yesterday. But it's good to have an early Pro-Am, kind of have the rest of the afternoon just to relax and I've got a late tee time tomorrow so I can sleep in a little bit, as well.

Q. You won the PGA at 23 and Phil won at 50. What does that say about golf?

COLLIN MORIKAWA: Golf's in a great spot. Anyone can win. Anyone can play well. I thought about this, I thought about Phil's win, and it's not like I've seen Phil's entire career. He won his first event 30 years ago. I'm 24 now. I still consider him as a competitor. It's not like he stopped and he's trying to get better. He's trying every day to get better. It's cool to see someone at 50 like that come out and win because it just gives me hope. It gives me just that passion because I love this game because I love this game and want to play as long as I can. It's cool to see fun like Phil accomplish that feat at a major championship at a great venue, really.

Q. You made the comment that you could see it in his eyes that he wanted to win. What did you see?

COLLIN MORIKAWA: You could see it in anyone out here that they want to win. And I think at a certain point, at a certain age when you feel like you can't compete, that's when you kind of lose that spark, when you show up to these events. You show up to a Masters, and you know, I'm just going to give the Masters as an example, right. You have guys at an older age and they might believe that they can win but in the back of their head, they are just there to try and play and see if they can make the cut.

Phil is not like that. Phil is out there to win. You can still see that spark in his eye and as long as he keeps feeling that fire, he's going to keep trying new things and keep working on his game. There's really no limit of age until you feel your body, you just can't go out there and compete for four straight days.

Q. How much would you like to be paired with him at a Ryder Cup later this year?

COLLIN MORIKAWA: Oh, I think it would be really cool, see that age gap -- I've got to make it there, he's got to make it there, we've still got a lot of golf in between. But Phil is one of the nicest guys out there, you can talk to him about anything, whether he knows the topic or not, he's going to say something. We can all agree about that. But he's awesome. He makes it relaxing and comfortable for someone like me at 24 who could possibly be lucky and feel like I belong.

To be honest I know everyone who could be on the team and I've spent a lot of time with everyone but that's a different setting. You can't teach that and you have to be ready for moments like that. Phil is someone like a leader that will take that under his wing, I'm sure, just to say, you know, end goal is to win, let's go win.

Q. Being back to where we started last year, as a new guy, full-time on the PGA TOUR, talk about what it's like and have you gotten a sense of what it's really like because it's been so different from what it usually is?

COLLIN MORIKAWA: It's very weird and it's all about adjusting and adapting, whether we have fans or no fans last year. It's all about just kind of finding a rhythm and it's hard to find a rhythm when it changes every week. And it's crazy to think, you know, this is my third PGA TOUR season. I'm going to count this as a third season. But it's really my first full season where I've played from the entire fall all the way throughout year.

It's just about figuring out where you're comfortable, trying to find those high peaks and trying to stay as consistent as possible throughout year, just learning my golf game, learning about me and how my body works. That's the process of being a professional golfer and it's been really fun to be honest.

Q. What's the difference when you start to see courses you have played before and courses like this where you've had much success?

COLLIN MORIKAWA: I think prep-wise it makes the Monday through Wednesday slightly easier. It doesn't even I'm going to get lazy and not go and see the golf course but it doesn't take away 18 holes of a practice round where I'm trying to figure out lines, I'm trying to figure out the greens and where to hit shots. I can kind of show up to tee boxes and just kind of know where to hit it. You know, my memory is not great on every single golf course. I don't remember things in an instant. So I still need to work on my lines off tees but just to know that I've hit good shots. I've remembered birdies out here. It just makes the week a little easier to transition to into Thursday.

Q. At 24, you're supposed to be able to remember better than us 50-somethings.

COLLIN MORIKAWA: There's a lot that goes on. We play a lot of golf.

Q. I know you want to be focused on this week's Charles Schwab, but it was announced this month you're going to be playing The Scottish Open. What are your thoughts about playing The Scottish Open and do you see it as a good warm-up into The Open Championship?

COLLIN MORIKAWA: Yeah, I think it's going to be a huge warm up for me. I've never played an Open Championship. I've never really been over there. I've been to Ireland and France once, and so I really haven't played links golf.

You know, the only links golf I've really seen is as a junior, you might get a linksy-style course but to really go out there and get prepped, I think the Scottish is going to be huge for my prep. Whether it plays very similar or not, just to be over there and get adjusted to everything. I really look forward to it. I think it's going to be a great event. Scottish Open is going to be awesome. I think it's going to be a great field.

My end goal is not just to learn how to play out there; I want to go out and win. I'm trying to do my best to get prepped for both of those events.

Q. The organizers are already perhaps pairing you with Robert MacIntyre, one of your rivals or colleagues from the Walker Cup. Do you keep an eye on those guys? And are you impressed with what Robert is doing?

COLLIN MORIKAWA: Oh, for sure. Bob's awesome. I think whenever you're paired not just the guys that were on my team, but those guys on the GB&I Team back then, you're always going to pay attention. You want them to succeed because we are all trying to get out to the PGA TOUR. We are all trying to be No. 1 in the world and win tournaments.

But what he's been doing in that short amount of time, it's awesome. It's good to see him out at these majors, WGCs and everything because it's just a young guy that I connect with. We have memories, better memories for the U.S. Team than theirs, but it's always going to be with us. We are always going to be remembered as the 2017 Walker Cup Team.

Q. As a southern Cal kid, how much history do you have with Torrey Pines?

COLLIN MORIKAWA: Other than when I played it in 2020, nothing. Yeah, not much. I love it. I loved it last time I played and that that was actually the first time I played golf with Tiger in a tournament, and a lot happened during that week. That week was chaotic playing with Tiger, losing Kobe. So Torrey is going to be really special for the rest of my life. I loved it when I played it. Going to be fun.

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107810-2-1003 2021-05-26 17:33:00 GMT

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