“No question he’ll add more and more majors,” predicted Tony Finau as he offered his reaction to Morikawa creating history by becoming the first player to win two of the game’s most-prized titles at the first attempt.
“He’s got the mindset to be an enduring champion for a long time,” added Finau after watching Morikawa add The Open to his breakthrough win in the US PGA Championship last year. “He’s not going away anytime soon.”
As was the case with his victory at Harding Park in San Francisco, Morikawa closed with a bogey-free final round at Royal St George’s, where he led the putting stats as well again in getting the job done.
The two-shot success lifted the Calfornian to world No 3, with Jon Rahm reclaiming the top spot from Dustin Johnson after he finished in the top five in the season’s final major,
“Great golf translates anywhere and he’s a major champion already so he’s a special player,” said Finau. “There are a few guys around his age with the potential to do great things.
“But I think he’s top of the list. He can adapt and play any style of golf. When you hit it as good as he does, you’ll be able to play anywhere.
“No question he’ll add more and more majors. He’s got the mindset to be an enduring champion for a long time. He’s not going away anytime soon.”
Morikawa made no secret of the fact that he felt a debut appearance in the abrdn Scottish Open the previous week had been “huge” as he joined 2003 winner Ben Curtis in getting his hands on the Claret Jug at the first attempt at the Sandwich venue.
That having been the case, it seems certain that Morikawa will be back for next week’s Scottish Open before his title defence, wth Bryson DeChambeau having said he is also likely to be in the field for the Rolex Series event.
Morikawa joined Darren Clarke, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson and Henrik Stenson in becoming the Open champion after playing in the Scottish Open since it left Loch Lomond in 2011 to be staged on a links course.
According to the game’s greatest player, that should be the preparation for every top player before trying to get their hands on the Claret Jug.
In a series of posts on social media, 18-time major winner Jack Nicklaus wrote: "Collin himself said if he had not played in the Scottish Open the week before, he would not have been as prepared for his first Open Championship. The Scottish Open was REALLY important for him!
"I’ve always been a great believer in the importance of preparation going into any major championship, and preparation in those kinds of conditions is essential to winning. If you want to win, that’s what you’ve got to do. Collin Morikawa did it."
Morikawa will defend the trophy in the 150th staging at St Andrews next July. “The Open Championship is going to be the part of my life the rest of my life no matter what happens,” he said. “To hear ‘Champion Golfer of the Year’ chills. It’s awesome.”