Four PGA Tour wins for Morikawa, including a major championship? Yeah, nobody does that!
It is fitting on this week — of all weeks — that a Tiger Woods statistic would define what happened on the PGA Tour. Collin Morikawa won the WGC-Workday Championship on Sunday at The Concession Golf Club by shooting 69 to finish at 18 under, three ahead of Billy Horschel, Brooks Koepka and Viktor Hovland. It was a tremendous ending to what has not been a tremendous week in the world of golf.
After opening with a hu-hum 70 on Thursday, Morikawa went on to birdie 20 of his next 45 holes starting on Friday to take a substantial lead going to the back nine on Sunday. With Viktor Hovland, Scottie Scheffler and Brooks Koepka chasing from deep, Morikawa knew they would need to be nearly perfect unless he made a big mistake; any slight miscue at The Concession — as the first three days proved — would mean the end of the chase.
Scheffler doubled the 16th, Hovland three-putted two of four holes and Koepka never got going on the second nine. And while Morikawa made big-boy par saves on multiple holes, the dagger came when he made a 7-foot birdie at No. 12, the drivable par-4 hole to become the first to get to 18 under. He played the rest of his round cleanly in even par and walked away with a big trophy and a bigger check.
“It shows that I can come out here and compete,” he said of closing out his first-ever 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour. “What a week. I was working on so much over the last couple of weeks … My game felt so good. I’m so excited right now.”
Winning four times in your first 39 PGA Tour events as a professional is highly unusual. It’s a Rory McIlroy-like number. A Jon Rahm-like number. Morikawa might not always be as discussed as some of the other young stars on the PGA Tour, but the No. 4 player in the world has become an absolute force.
Morikawa was the best iron player in this field by a healthy margin, which is apropos because The Concession is as demanding a venue as there is in terms of iron play. And with his fourth win in 39 PGA Tour starts as a pro, he got himself onto a pretty exclusive list of legends who have won four or more times — including a major — by the age of 24.
With much of the field dressed in red and black to honor Woods after his near-fatal car crash earlier this week, Morikawa was emotional in the end after his three-stroke win.
“Tiger means everything to me,” said Morikawa. “Yes, he had the crash, thankfully he’s all right and hopefully he has a quick and great recovery. I don’t think we say thank you enough. I want to say thank you to Tiger … Sometimes you lose people too early. You don’t get to say thank you enough.”
There was no dramatic finish this weekend like there has been fort he last month — just a romp from both the best iron player this week and the best iron player in this field. Again, this was a fitting tribute to the best iron player of all time who is sitting in a hospital room on the opposite coast. A wild week ended on Sunday with much more optimism and a lot more hope than it started with. Yes, Woods has given golf so much, but Morikawa carried the baton this week in more ways than one.