Collin Morikawa: "It sucks without the fans to share in the drama"
A lot has changed in the world over the past year. There's was a global pandemic, a change in US commander-in-chief, and a potential new future face in the golfing world: Collin Morikawa.
The 23-year-old American rolls into this weekend's Omega Dubai Desert Classic as one of the favourites following the back of a standout first full year as a professional.
In 2020, Morikawa not only made headlines by winning the first Major championship (PGA Championship 2020) of his young career, but he also cemented his place as one of the sport's brightest new talents after stringing together a run of 22 consecutive made cuts - the second longest in history, and only surpassed by a certain Tiger Woods.
The future may be bright for Morikawa, but there remains so much for him to still acheive, and he is certainly not getting ahead of himself.
"This week in Dubai is an important one for me," says Morikawa, "winning is always on my mind and winning a tournament outside the US is one of my goals for the year. I'd also like to compete and hopefully win another Major championship, of course."
Making his bow on the Omega Dubai Desert Classic's Majlis course, the current world number four is aware that a lot of attention will be on him despite the crowd restrictions on the actual course itself.
"Coming over from the US, the key thing is learning to adjust to the conditions and the golf course," he says. "As players we've had to figure out a way to play without the fans there, but it really does suck without them there to share in the drama. They bring so much life and energy into what we do and help you stay in the moment and stay present. Without them you have to find a way to stay completely focused for 72 holes so that you can play some really good golf."
With success coming early on in his professional career, Morikawa has been quick to adapt to the pressures that success brings by keeping things simple. "I love playing golf, so I don't really see it as pressure but more of a previledge to be allowed to travel the world and play the sport I love."
"Winning a Major championship at the age of 23 is something incredible and means a lot. It has opened so many doors to what I can do and what can happen to me," he says.
With a raise in profile comes the association with an elevated level of partnership potential, something that Morikawa has also come to embrace having recently joined a clutch of other golfing stars as one of Omega's brand ambassadors.
"I was drawn to the company by what they represent, and the players that they already work with like Rory [McIlroy] and Sergio [Garcia] speaks volumes," he says. "Also, the watches are amazing!"
"I love wearing the Seamaster Ultra light, and I often wear it on the golf course for practice rounds as it is so light and versatile, and I love the Velcro strap!"
Omega Dubai Desert Classic, Emirates Golf Course, Dubai. January 28 to 31. omegadubaidesertclassic.com
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