|I hope you’re well and enjoying the UK heatwave and ‘freedom day/week’.
Last weekend Collin Morikawa won The Open at Royal St.Georges with an amazing final round on his first ever attempt. In doing so he became the youngest player to win 2 majors on debut and one of the quickest in history in just 8 major entries. Outrageous!
There are comparisons became made between him and Tiger, which I would usually say is just the media blowing a win out of proportion but there are some good links to this one…
Tiger and Collin are the only two players to win an Open and PGA Championship before 25 years of age and there statistics are spookily similar.
Collin Morikawa is absolutely dominating the strokes gained approach numbers this season – to the extent that Tiger used to. Remember that Tiger was never a great driver of the ball (Morikawa is decent) so this is where he made up his advantage. In fact, the stats between the years of 2004-2021 suggest that Morikawa is even better than Tiger in that period (Tiger in 1997-2004 I suspect would be better again).
So we know that the better the long game is (and particularly approach play), the more consistently at the top of the leaderboard you will be. To win, you then have to make the putts at the end of it. For his 2 major wins Morikawa has led the field in this stat and the evidence was there on the final day with a few really good par saving putts and a couple of birdie efforts. Every one seemed to go right in the middle also!
More majors in the pipeline? …. Absolutely. His approach game will always see him there or there abouts on tough courses. He isn’t the longest player but certainly not short either and on those weeks where his putter is hot he may well win.
What can amateur golfers take from this? … Collin Morikawa has one of the most repetitive, solid swings in golf, therefore he hits lots of consistent, solid shots. His swing mechanics don’t require him to fight anything and therefore he can reproduce the same shot over and over. He predominantly fades the ball off the tee and with his irons and he can trust that.
For club golfers at home, if you can improve your mechanics (doesn’t have to be complicated) and record how many greens you hit in regulation each round you can start to build some better results. Also, realise where your strengths and weaknesses are – your inability to hit a draw might not actually be holding you back as much as you think. Remember, that to improve you need to know where you are starting so a simple baseline stat is really important.
Lee Wilson, July 2021