Open champion Collin Morikawa has say on Saudi-backed LIV Golf and declares: I'm only interested in memories not money

Collin Morikawa, the Open champion, insists he’s more interested in memories than money in his career, admitting he doesn’t even know how much he earned for his Claret Jug win at Royal St George’s last year.

Collin Morikawa shows off the Claret Jug after his win at Royal St George's last summer. Picture: Getty Images
Collin Morikawa shows off the Claret Jug after his win at Royal St George's last summer. Picture: Getty Images

The two-time major champion spoke about the money stakes in golf after it was claimed that 15 players in the world’s top 100 had registered for the the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Series event at the Centurion Club near London in early June.

“Look, I said in February that my alliance is to the PGA Tour,” said Morikawa in a press conference about his title defence in the 150th Open at St Andrews in July. “Will I still watch what’s going on? Yeah, I’m curious about what’s going on. Do I care who is going to be playing? No, not at all.

“At the end of the day, I’m here to win majors and to win PGA Tour tournaments and return to defend my Race to Dubai title.”

Phil Mickelson is one of the players to lodge an application to receive a release from the PGA Tour to play in the first of Greg Norman’s events, which will carry prize pots of £20 million.

Others thought to be in line to play in the 48-man field at the Centurion Club include European Ryder Cup trio Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and South African Louis Oosthuizen.

The English leg is the first of eight tournaments in the LIV Golf Invitational Series, which also takes in stops in the USA, Thailand and Saudi Arabia. The final event, a £15m team championship, will be staged at Donald Trump’s Doral course in Miami from October 28-30.

“To be honest, we don’t know who they are and if they are actually going to compete,” added Morikawa. “At the end of the day, nothing is concrete. Yes, people have signed up, but it doesn’t mean they are going to play.

“It just means they want to have that option and there is nothing against that. But you don’t know who is going to play and there’s nothing to talk about when you don’t know who is going to be playing. It is just speculation.

“We know who is going to be playing in The Open and we know who is going to be playing in the next two majors. That’s my view on what’s going on. From day one (with the Norman series), nothing has been clear and I’m going to be making as much of a guess as you are.”

Moriikawa was speaking a few hours after it had been announced that the attendance for this year’s Open will be a record 290,000, which will generate huge revenue for the R&A.

Asked if he felt more money was the only thing that would make players happier, Morikawa replied: “I think you are speaking to a select few (when you say that). I’m not just playing for the money.

“I think think there are a lot of guys out there who aren’t just playing for the money. If that was the case, I might as well just start playing every week. You don’t see anyone playing every week as if they are just trying to make a quick penny.

“I haven’t dove into the financials of the majors and the percentage we are making. I’m guessing that the majors do make a lot of money and there isn’t anything bad about making more money.

“But, when you put us in the boat of the only thing that keeps us here is money, that’s just not true. If that were the case, you would have 100 signed up for this other tour that’s happening, but you don’t. You have an unknown 15.

“When it comes down to it, it’s just the love of the game. I think what the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour have aligned themselves to do and what we are growing into is great.

“I’m not complaining about where I’m at right now. I love the position we are at. I want to keep winning more. Money is obviously a great second part of it. But I didn’t finish winning the Open last year asking what I made. I could not tell you what I made last year at all.

“At the end of the day, I’m telling you about the memories of the Claret Jug and showing it to people and bringing it around town. Those are the memories you are going to make. Not saying ‘hey, I made X amount of dollars and I’m good because of that’.”

Morikawa, who will once again use the Scottish Open as his warm up for the final major of the season, will be defending the Claret Jug on his first visit to St Andrews.

“When it comes to St Andrews, there is obviously the history and everything it represents. The Home of Golf,” he said. “I’ve never been to a golf course where really the entire town is encompassed around St Andrews. The love for the game. It breathes and lives through the town. That’s what I’m looking forward to experiencing.

“Places we go and play, golf is the highlight of that week, but there’s also other things going on in some cities that we go to.

“I look forward to going there and embracing everything. Being part of that town when everything is about The Open.

“Being defending champion at the 150th Open at St Andrews, you can’t script it any better other than being the defending champion at the 151st. Hopefully, I can pull it with the energy of those fans. It would be very, very special to defend at the 150th Open."

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