Cal Golf: Collin Morikawa Says of His PGA Tour Rivals: `There's No Fear'

His first full season on the tour netted two victories, including the PGA Championship
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Collin Morikawa has been on the PGA tour less than a year-and-a-half and acknowledges there is still much he doesn’t know.

“For me, I’m still kind of learning some courses as I go,” Morikawa told Sports Illustrated’s Bill Heisler in this video interview. “That’s just part of being a young professional out here on the PGA tour.”

But one aspect is not part of the process: “There’s no fear.”

As he steps onto the course on a Thursday for a PGA event, the 23-year-old Cal grad says confidence is more important than worrying about how well others may be playing.

“It’s a lot of belief,” he said. “I don’t walk into every event and try to figure out who’s playing the best and be like, `OK, I’ve got to beat this guy.’ There’s none of that.

“I’m trying to beat every single person out there. I’m trying to beat the course and do what I can control. You can’t control what everyone else does.”

Morikawa, whose two tour victories this season include winning the PGA Championship at Harding Park in San Francisco, touches on a lot of topics in his conversation with Heisler.

— Does he pay attention to DraftKings?

— Who are the biggest trash talkers on the tour?

— How did he first become interested in the game?

— He talked about different ways fans can enjoy the game these days without actually walking 18 holes.

He reflected on his first season, remarkably successful despite being interrupted for two months later spring by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s amazing. You talk about what has happened over the past few months . . . just us being fortunate to come back and play,” he said. “It’s just been so much fun. It’s been exciting, going back to doing things we love to do.”

Without fans allowed on the course once the tour restarted, Morikawa was asked if that requires players to find their own motivation.

“You have to,” he said. “When there’s no fans, you talk about the PGA Championship, coming down through 12 holes, seven of us were tied at 10 under . . . you had to step out of your comfort zone and amp yourself up and get yourself hyped about wanting to make birdies, wanting to take the lead.

“Because sometimes without fans you don’t know what’s going on. You don’t hear any cheers. All you’re doing is looking at leader boards. And if that doesn’t get you kind of hyped up to make some birdies and make better shots, you’re going to look back after 18 holes and realize you kind of let that one away and let someone else take the win.”

At the PGA Championships, of course, that did not happen. After the final 18, he was able to hoist the winner’s trophy.

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Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo

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