Morikawa caring less about No. 1 and more about winning

Jul 5, 2022, 9:41 PM | Updated: Jul 6, 2022, 9:44 am

U.S golfer Colin Morikawa playing the 9th hole during the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor, Ireland...

U.S golfer Colin Morikawa playing the 9th hole during the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor, Ireland, Tuesday, July, 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

(AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

NORTH BERWICK, Scotland (AP) — Collin Morikawa was one round away from reaching No. 1 in the world, staked to a five-shot lead in the Bahamas and needing only to win.

Seven months later, No. 1 feels like a mile away.

Morikawa shot 76 in the final round last December and began the new year thinking so much about it that he started going in the wrong direction. He hasn’t won, and really hasn’t come particularly close until the U.S. Open last month.

“I think that might have played a factor in how I was performing beginning of the year,” Morikawa said Wednesday at the Scottish Open. “What I cared about was trying to get to No. 1 in the world.”

He now is No. 4 but still so far from Scottie Scheffler that even wins at the Scottish Open and the British Open next week might not be enough to catch him.

But that’s no longer his concern.

“I just want to get back in the winner’s circle. That’s what it was like since I’ve turned pro and it hasn’t changed,” Morikawa said. But when you’re on the cusp of something and you’re so close to that, sometimes kind of jumps precedent to what you really need to focus on.”

This would be a good time to turn it around. Morikawa has fond memories of the Scottish Open, more from the experience than the result. He tied for 71st, but his taste of links revealed that he needed to change his irons. A week later, he was a British Open champion.

“So if I had just shown up to The Open Championship last year, it probably just would have been a repeat of what I saw last year during this event, maybe hitting fairways and then missing every green, which is not the case for trying to win major championships,” he said.

Different about this Scottish Open, which starts Thursday, is the field.

This is the first example of the alliance between the PGA Tour and the European tour. The Scottish Open counts for both tours, and the field is the strongest in the tournament’s history, with each tour getting equal spots in the 156-man field that features 14 of the top 15 in the world. Rory McIlroy is the only one not playing.

Well, the field is a little more than 156 players.

Ian Poulter and Branden Grace were among four players who signed up for the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series and won a temporary stay from the European tour suspending them. They were added to the field, going off in twosomes at the front end of each side of the draw.

Not everyone is happy about that.

“I believe they made their bed,” Billy Horschel said. “They shouldn’t be coming back over here to play the DP World Tour or the PGA Tour. To say that they wanted to also support the DP or PGA Tour going forward, while playing the LIV tour, is completely asinine in my opinion.”

And not everyone cares, least of all Robert MacIntyre, the lefty from Oban and Scotland’s highest-ranked player at No. 102, out of the top 100 for the first time in nearly three years. These two tournaments are the highlight of his season — his national Open and the ultimate Open at St. Andrews. He was in no mood for any chatter about rival leagues or innuendos.

“I’m here to try and win the Scottish Open, next week try to win The Open Championship. These two weeks are massive for my game and my career,” he said. “I have a chance the next few weeks to do something special and I’m not worrying about what’s going on.”

The wind was ripping across The Renaissance Club on Wednesday, flags of the DP World Tour (commercial name for the European tour) and FedEx Cup from the PGA Tour sharing space on the grandstands.

“The weather today was fun. I don’t know if it would be as fun if it was a tournament,” Scheffler said. “I don’t know if we could have played this golf course if it was a tournament.”

Scheffler is among several stars who have had all week to acclimatize. He arrived over the weekend to play Lahinch and Ballybunion before going to the J.P. McManus Pro-Am. Stepping off the plane and onto the tee, he noticed 100 or so people who came out to watch.

“No stretching and warming up and right on the first tee and everyone is sitting there watching you,” Scheffler said. “We warned them starting the round, ‘You won’t be seeing what the No. 1 player looks like.'”

It counts on Thursday, consecutive weeks of the best players in links golf, ending with the final major championship of the year at the home of golf.


More AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

Morikawa caring less about No. 1 and more about winning