Collin Morikawa’s 2021 PGA season is off to a quiet start but the former Cal star has a chance to climb back into the spotlight this week in his first stab at The Masters.
The event at Augusta National, a staple on the spring golf calendar, was shifted to the fall because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since then, Morikawa, 23, won his first major, claiming the PGA Championship at Harding Park in San Francisco in August.
The 2019 Cal graduate has played just four events since the 2021 season got under way in September, and he missed the cut in two of them, including the U.S. Open. That was out of character after he joined Tiger Woods as the only players since 1990 to begin their professional careers by making the cut in their first 20 PGA tournaments.
Morikawa finished in a tie for 12th place at the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek in mid-October, then wound up tied for 50th at the Zozo Championship at Sherwood late last month.
He did not play the Vivint Houston Open this week, but rates among the top-10 betting favorites headed to The Masters.
Morikawa is rated by William Hill at 25-1 to win his second major, ninth-best among players in the field.
Bryson DeChambeau is the favorite at 17-2, according to William Hill, following by John Rahm (10-1), Rory McIlroy (11-1), Justin Thomas (12-1) and Dustin Johnson (12-1).
Woods checks in at 28-1.
Some gambling sites reflect Morikawa’s recent inconsistent performance.
Consider this from thelines.com:
Some top players odds dropped sharply based on strong performances since the PGA Tour restart in June. Collin Morikawa soared up the odds board after winning the PGA Championship in August. Morikawa went from odds as high as +5000 at BetMGM in June to +3300 currently. Morikawa’s odds dipped as low as +1800 at FanDuel Sportsbook, but he’s drifted up again and is currently +3500.
Despite his quiet showing the past couple months, Morikawa maintains the No. 4 spot in the world golf rankings, behind only Johnson, Rahm and Thomas. He is just ahead of McIlroy and DeChambeau, who sit as Nos. 5 and 6, with Woods back at No. 32.
The 2020 season was magical for Morikawa, who won twice and finished sixth in the FedExp Cup. He led the tour with 16 eagles and had seven top-10 finishes.
He earned more than $5.25 million in prize money during the 2020 season, despite a two-month tour shutdown because the coronavirus.
Morikawa was plus-6 and plus-1 in his two rounds at the U.S. Open but actually shot over par just once in 10 rounds in his three tournaments since then.
Joining Morikawa at Augusta National are fellow ex-Cal golfers Max Homa, also making his Masters debut, and Byeong Hun An.
Because The Masters is being played in the fall, after the end of daylight savings time, no less, play will begin earlier each day in order to be off the course before darkness.
TV SCHEDULE FOR THE MASTERS (all time PST)
THURSDAY: 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., ESPN
FRIDAY: 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., ESPN
SATURDAY: 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. (College Game Day from Augusta National), ESPN; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., CBS
SUNDAY: 7 a.m. to noon, CBS
2020 MASTERS ODDS (via William Hill)
Bryson DeChambeau 17-2
Jon Rahm 10-1
Rory McIlroy 11-1
Justin Thomas 12-1
Dustin Johnson 12-1
Xander Schauffele 14-1
Brooks Koepka 18-1
Patrick Cantlay 22-1
Collin Morikawa 25-1
Tiger Woods 28-1
Tyrrell Hatton 28-1
Webb Simpson 28-1
Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo
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