This was once a stroke of genius. Albeit one in entrance of no fanatics.
No raucous cheers, but a in point of fact iconic shot for the ages on the 294-yard par-Four 16th hollow that separated Morikawa from the pack amid an exhilarating and pulsating ultimate day at Harding Park, San Francisco — which at one level noticed seven gamers tied for the lead at 10-under par past due on Sunday.
Enjoying in simply his 2nd primary and in his house state, the California teenager drove the ball to inside of seven ft of the outlet. After which, with nerveless, ice-cool precision, he rolled within the eagle putt that will in the end propel him to a well-known two-shot victory over in a single day chief and 2016 US Open champion Dustin Johnson and England’s Paul Casey.
Morikawa closed with a six-under 64, the bottom ultimate spherical via a champion at this tournament in 1 / 4 of a century and coming in simply his 28th get started as a qualified.
No longer unusually, an elated Morikawa — who’s of Eastern and Chinese language descent — stated he was once on “Cloud 9” after his astonishing exploits, however he admitted one thing was once lacking.
“That is the only time I in point of fact want there have been crowds proper there, however no. I used to be simply praying for a directly jump in need of the fairway, directly to the fairway after which after it bounced it more or less were given in the back of a tree that we could not see across the nook,” he stated.
“So as soon as it bounced, I used to be like ‘Ok, I will be able to take it anyplace it’s’ as a result of it’s at the inexperienced, whether or not it is brief, lengthy and I glanced round proper on the tee and appeared across the tree and it appeared in point of fact, in point of fact just right.”
Even then, he simply could not in point of fact ensure of the place precisely his ball was once given the truth this was once a significant match like no different.
“So I heard some claps. Clearly now not a ton. However you recognize, the claps may imply I am at the inexperienced and I have were given 50 ft. However strolling up, I knew it was once proper above the tier and also you needed to make it.
“I needed to make that putt. Two strokes is so much other than one stroke coming down 18.”
Morikawa — who began taking part in golfing as a five-year previous — resides the dream after successful the PGA Championship at the first actual time of asking.
After his 3rd PGA Excursion victory, he strikes to global No. five and handiest Rory Mcllroy and the mythical Jack Nicklaus have been more youthful than him once they received this actual match all through the stroke-play generation.
“It is nice corporate,” enthused Morikawa. “You already know, it is been loopy, as a result of this complete get started of my skilled profession, I see the entire issues evaluating [me] to Tiger [Woods] and doing all this after which Tiger is on an absolutely other stage. I believe everyone knows that.
“However any time you might be within the dialog of the greats, Jack, Rory, Tiger, regardless of who it’s, in case you are in that dialog, you might be doing one thing smartly.”
And it kind of feels even basketball greats need a piece of the motion on the subject of all issues Morikawa.
Take for instance the surreal second when a definite ‘visitor’ reporter made a unique look on the teenager’s press convention. The ‘reporter’ in query? Golden State Warriors celebrity Stephen Curry, himself a skilled and really willing golfer.
Curry even seemed to be offering his products and services as a caddie, if ever wanted. The 3-time NBA champion revealing: “I am loose for the following 3 months if you want a caddie or alternative. If you want me, I am to be had.”
Morikawa — who performed faculty golfing only a few miles clear of the Harding Park direction — shook off any conceivable nerves and composed himself sufficient to interact with the NBA icon.
“Steph, you thoughts starting up your hat? No, it is a laugh to peer you. I noticed you in the market on nine and my caddie is a large Warriors fan. I believe you heard him. I am not! I am an L.A. boy at center.”
Morikawa has handiest been a qualified golfer for simply over a yr.
On Sunday, he confirmed composure and adulthood manner in the back of his years and already has the honor of a few large names within the golfing global, Brooks Koepka for one.
The 30 year-old Floridian — who was once denied the danger of a historical three-peat on the PGA Championship after a last spherical 74 left him 10-shots again — paid him a tribute.
“He is in point of fact just right. You notice those guys popping out of faculty now, they’re in a position to win and [he’s] top instance,” he stated.
“I recall to mind that crew — him, Matt Wolff, Viktor Hovland. It is spectacular what they do. They arrive out of faculty and they are in a position to play out right here. Hats off to him.”
The vanquished Casey — whose lengthy look forward to a primary profession primary continues — described Morikawa’s epic shot at 16 as “sensible.”
“Speedy adulthood was once most certainly the only factor that stood out,” he stated.
“I imply, you may have heard him communicate. Very mature within the phrases he chooses, the best way he speaks, the best way he performs golfing.”
The primary primary of the yr delivered various compelling tale strains, now not least Koepka unusually failing to make a major tilt on the name, given he was once handiest two photographs again via 3 rounds.
We additionally noticed every other close to omit for Johnson, who as soon as once more had the lead after 54 holes at a significant however may now not pass on and get the activity achieved.
Then there may be Woods — who’ll flip 45 later this yr — and who, after an encouraging first spherical on Thursday, fell away significantly over the weekend to complete at one-under par for the match, 12 photographs adrift and with hopes of a 16th primary extinguished for now.
Whilst self-doubt is one thing all best athletes should care for now and again, it is not recently a subject matter for Morikawa who says he is “believed in himself since day one.” Regardless that it kind of feels there may be all the time room for growth.
His handiest fake pas on Sunday got here off the direction when, upon lifting the famed Wanamaker trophy, the lid come tumbling off. His accompanying facial features because it all opened up was once useful.
On the other hand, Morikawa will cherish his step forward profession second for future years. A in point of fact life-changing weekend that is left this prodigious ability “California dreaming” in San Francisco.