Golfers are human, but Collin Morikawa is from Mars. There has never been a more open British Open than this one in 2021, it was truly interplanetary. Morikawa is the 2021 Golfer Champion of the year.
Winning the Masters gets you Augusta for life. That’s great! The US Open, at least by tradition, is the most demanding of the four Majors. But the British Open, The Open Championship, or as they call it: The Open, in any weather and on any of the courts, is an extraordinary bath of grandeur, with capital letters.
But instead of falling into the inevitable temptation of recounting an impressive round of golf, which most of you will have seen on television, it would be better to do a racconto One of the notable milestones that mark this massive victory that closes the 2021 Majors season.
At just 24 years old, this Californian has won two Majors. And while this is something that many, many players do not achieve throughout a successful career, his triumph at Royal St George’s elevates him to an Olympus where there are many more historical achievements.
Less than a year ago Morikawa was playing his first PGA Championship at Harding Park, San Francisco. There he won in great style, without making a single bogey on the final lap. That was his first Major. Eleven months later he competed in his first Open Championship, and earned this resounding victory, also bogey-free on the final lap. These two milestones make it the first golfer in history to win the PGA and The Open in his first appearance. And he is also the first in 25 years to do so with two final laps without bogeys.
Morikawa is also the second player in history to win these two majors under the age of 25. You guessed it, Tiger Woods was the first.
He is also the first player since Bobby Jones reached him to win two Majors in just eight appearances. He also joins Jones, Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth for being the only four Americans to win the British Open under the age of 25.
Only two players in the last 100 years have achieved two majors in eight or fewer appearances. It was Walter Hagen and Gene Sarazen. Good to know that Sarazen ended up winning the Grand Slam and Hagen racked up 11 majors.
Although only 24 years old, Morikawa should be assured of his induction into the Golf Hall of Fame. Perhaps some of you remember Tiger in his twenties. Morikawa is similar and different from Tiger. He is another athletic Californian, although he does not have his power, nor his putter game (no one ever had it or will ever have it). So far he played only eight Majors and won two. Meanwhile, in fifteen days he will be competing in the Olympic Games, in Japan, the land of his ancestors, representing the United States, his native country. In September he will represent the United States again in the Ryder Cup. In short, you will be doing what you always wanted to do, playing golf professionally.
“I am only 24 years old and I have only been a professional golf player for 2 years. I really enjoy these moments that I have to live. When you are in these moments, and you really love what you do, which is to play golf and compete against all these great players, you realize that these are the best moments of your life. Because those inevitable nerves that you feel push you to be a better person every time ”. They were the central words of Morikawa in the press conference.
We only have to talk about three players today. Two remain.
Jordan Spieth came out on the second-to-last twosome, after missing a ridiculous and very expensive 60cm putt on Saturday’s final hole. Most of the fans wanted him to be the champion. Four years ago he was at the top of world golf, when he won the Open at Royal Birkdale. That was his third Major, along with the Masters and the US Open. From there it was all downhill, always talking and complaining. He went from champion and spoiled child to underdog. Today is the prodigal son. Jordan Spieth is back.
On this Sunday everyone expected him to attack from the beginning, but the first three hard pairs were followed by two bogeys, on hole 4 and on hole 6. There is an old saying in golf: Dogs who walk on the routes and golfers who They do approach and putt for par, they do not last long. Jordan went -7 and his fans lamented thinking it was a repeat movie. But Jordan was Jordan. He made a tremendous eagle on par 5 of hole 7 and started the engine. Today there is no player that moves more than Jordan Spieth when he enters that area. There is no stronger head than this young Texan who is now 27 years old. He birdied holes 9, 10, 13 and 14, for a 66 (-4), which was built with six shots under par in the last 12 holes and left him second with -13, two shots behind Morikawa. And that was not losing, it was that they beat him with a golf from another world. No one doubts that Spieth will win Majors again, soon.
“I was really mad yesterday after missing that short putt at 18. That was horrible. Had he holed it he would have been in the final exit with Collin. My putting in general is not where it should be, where it once was. I’m working in it. Today I was unlucky. I was all day between clubs. You have to be very precise on this court and not having the right number is very stressful. But I am very proud to have gone 6 under par on the final 12 holes. Collin played very well and is a great champion, ”Spieth said at the end.
Louis Oosthuizen was the champion everyone would have gladly accepted. After all, justice is something that always makes sense. And who can doubt that Oosthuizen deserved a Major this year. He did not play the Masters well in April (28th place). But he was second at the PGA Championship in Kiawah. He led the US Open, at Torrey Pines, then 54 holes to finish second, two strokes, behind champion Jon Rahm. And this Open must have been the Oosthuizen Open, with its perfect tempo swing. But at the end of the day that is not enough. In a Major, a player has to have the mechanics adjusted to solve the problems that the game presents and also the mental side. And it is clear, after six second places and eleven top tens, that Oosthuizen is missing something. And it is obvious by all that is left over and that generates so much admiration. It is almost unthinkable that a player of his category has not won more than a single Major, the Open at St Andrew’s in 2010.
Anyway, this has been an extraordinary championship. With a winner who demonstrated an enormous quality of play and superior mental strength. He had strong contenders, who fought to the end, providing a sensational sporting spectacle. What more could you want? It will be until next time.