On the surface, it might seem that Collin Morikawa had a rough day on Sunday at the Charles Schwab Challenge. Tied for the lead after 72 holes, the 23-year-old PGA Tour phenom lipped out a three-foot putt on the first playoff hole, handing the title to Daniel Berger on a wild Sunday at Colonial in the tour’s first event back following a three-month hiatus. But there was plenty to take away from the week for Morikawa, including a check for $817,500.
Beyond that, he’s jumped into the top 30 in the world for the first time and is zeroing in on a record held by another former phenom, some guy named Tiger Woods.
Collin Morikawa nearly won a pro tournament as an amateur
In 2016, Collin Morikawa, then just a 19-year-old amateur at UC-Berkeley, teed it up for the first time at a professional event at the Air Capital Classic (now the Wichita Open) on the Web.com Tour (now the Korn Ferry Tour). Now, when young amateurs normally play in a pro event, the goal is just to play well and maybe make the weekend. But Collin Morikawa came to win and actually almost pulled it off.
In Sunday’s final round at Crestview Country Club, Morikawa fired a 7-under round of 63 to finish at 17-under, draining a 27-foot birdie putt on his 72nd hole to get into a playoff with Ollie Schniederjans and J.J. Spaun. He lost the playoff but put the golf world on notice that he was going to be a star, which he certainly turned out to be. He once held the top spot in the World Amateur Golf Ranking and won the Pac-12 Championship in 2019 before turning pro last June.
He’s jumped more than 1,000 spots in the world rankings since making his PGA Tour debut last June
In June 2019, Collin Morikawa made his professional debut on the PGA Tour, impressing with a T-14 finish at the RBC Canadian Open. Following that pro debut, he was ranked 1,039th in the Official World Golf Ranking.
A week later, Morikawa played his first major championship, finishing tied for 35th at the U.S. Open, which moved him to 738th. A week after that, he moved to 623rd after a T-36 at the Travelers Championship. But then Collin Morikawa really turned it on.
He jumped 410 spots in the rankings after a T-2 finish at the 3M Open, his first top-10 finish on the PGA Tour. The following week, he tied for fourth at the John Deere Classic, jumping up another 41 spots. Two weeks later, in just his sixth start as a pro on the PGA Tour, Morikawa won the Barracuda Championship in Reno, putting him into the top 100 for the first time at 90th.
Since then, he’s continued his rise, carding four more top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour, plus another on the Japan Golf Tour. When the new rankings came out on Monday morning, Collin Morikawa was in the top 30 for the first time in his career, sitting in the 27th spot. So in the last year, he’s jumped 1,012 spots. What’s crazy is that feat isn’t even the most impressive thing about his first year on the PGA Tour.
Collin Morikawa could soon break an impressive Tiger Woods record
Since his professional debut a year ago, Collin Morikawa has made the cut in every single PGA Tour event he’s played, a string of 21 tournaments. Over the last three decades, only Tiger Woods has had a better start to a career, making the weekend in his first 25 events as a pro. Morikawa is fully aware of where he stands and has set his sights on the 15-time major champion, as he recently told Golfweek.
“To have that consistency over the past year, especially not having any status last summer, to go out and winning, making the playoffs, whatever, it means a lot, and obviously the goal is to reach Tiger, if not beat him.”Collin Morikawa
Collin Morikawa has become one of the best young guns on the PGA Tour and will look to continue his streak later this week in Hilton Head at the RBC Heritage. A solid finish would also likely get him into the top 25 in the rankings. This kid has a bright future and he’s only getting started.