Collin Morikawa looking forward to having fans back in Japan
Open champion Collin Morikawa is relishing playing in front of Japanese fans again after the “dull” atmosphere of a spectator-free Olympics.
Morikawa is the top-ranked player in this week’s ZOZO Championship, which returns to Narashino Country Club – where Tiger Woods won a record-equalling 82nd PGA Tour title in 2019 – after being staged in California last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The world number three, who is of Japanese descent, is making his fifth trip to the country since 2016 and is joint favourite for the title with Olympic gold medallist Xander Schauffele.
“I’ve pretty much come back once a year almost and it’s just getting better and better,” Morikawa, who lost out in a seven-man play-off for the bronze medal in Tokyo, told a pre-tournament press conference.
“These are some of the best fans. I was here earlier for the Olympics and we didn’t have anyone and it just felt dull. Even though it was the Olympics and we knew what we were playing for, it has a different feeling when you have fans.
“I remember my first tee shot out here two years ago when there were fans on stools and lined up five, six people deep. They would cheer for you walking to tee boxes, hitting every tee shot whether it’s good or bad.”
Morikawa finished runner-up to Rory McIlroy in the CJ Cup at his home course in Las Vegas on Sunday before taking the PGA Tour’s charter flight to Japan, only getting to the players’ hotel at around 6am on Tuesday.
But with his Open triumph at Royal St George’s helping him top the European Tour’s Race to Dubai standings – no American has won it before – the 24-year-old is happy to put up with any travel issues as he seeks a second overseas victory.
“It would mean a lot,” Morikawa added. “I think it just shows that your game can travel.
“Obviously I was never really in contention at the Olympics other than that late run for the bronze medal, but you want your game to travel. That’s why I’m a European Tour member, that’s why I try and play a lot in different places.
“This next month and a half of travel I’m playing here in Japan, we’re going to play in Dubai [the European Tour’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship], we’re going to play in the Bahamas. It’s a lot of travel.
“You’ve got to adjust and you’ve got to get your body right and I think that’s just what it is to be a professional golfer, is learning on the road how to get ready each and every week.”
Adam Scott equals course record to share halfway lead at Australian Open
Scott carded five birdies and an eagle on the 18th at Victoria Golf Club.
Hole-in-one helps Tom McKibbin make strong start in South Africa
The 19-year-old holed out with a five iron from 232 yards on the 11th hole.
A nice birdie-fest – Tiger Woods expecting low scoring Hero World Challenge
Woods withdrew on Monday due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
Adam Scott relishing chance to experience a career first at the Australian Open
The tournament sees men, women and golfers with disabilities competing on the same course at the same time.
Tiger Woods backs up Rory McIlroy and says LIV Golf boss Greg Norman ‘has to go’
Woods called McIlroy a ‘true leader’ as he spoke out about the Saudi-funded breakaway.
Tiger Woods withdraws from Hero World Challenge due to foot problem
The former world number one has not played since the Open Championship in July.
Tiger Woods to partner son Charlie in next month’s PNC Championship
Woods has not played since the Open Championship in July.
I want to fulfil my dreams – Adam Scott in no mood to lower expectations
Scott is seeking a third Australian PGA Championship title this week in his native Queensland.
Nicolas Colsaerts named a vice-captain for Europe’s Ryder Cup team
The Belgian joins Thomas Bjorn and Edoardo Molinari on Luke Donald’s staff.
Ireland’s Ancient East: Golf attractions alongside stunning beauty of Kildare
Ireland has a rich mix of tourist attractions across its varied and beautiful terrain.