Collin Morikawa had a disappointing week in San Diego, missing the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open after a tough second-round 75. But it hasn’t been all bad for the California native so far this year, as he tied for fifth at the season-opening The Sentry in Hawaii.
This week, he’s focused on the PGA Tour’s second signature event of 2024, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Morikawa has never played in the Crosby Clambake, but he did tie for 35th at the 2019 U.S. Open, an event hosted on the shores of the Monterey Peninsula.
“I’m excited. We flew up Sunday and I actually forgot how nice this piece of land is in the entire world,” the world No. 12 told media Tuesday during his pre-tournament press conference. “It’s gorgeous and we are very lucky to be here. It’s great to be back in northern California again. Look, just obviously kind of beginning of the season and want to get off to a good start. Didn’t play well last week, but like I said, it’s the early part and the game’s feeling good. Just got to find fairways and hopefully we can get put together four good rounds.”
Collin Morikawa hits his tee shot on the 10th hole during the first round of the 2024 Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego. (Photo: Ray Acevedo-USA TODAY Sports)
In between questions about his game and Cali connection, Morikawa was asked about how golf’s product on television could be improved.
His sentiment sounded a lot like thousands of fans on social media.
“Well, I mean, you first need to see more golf shots. Like that’s like — that’s like the No. 1 bullet point. How do I make it more interesting? That’s a great one. Hit better shots, stop hitting — stop playing so poorly.
“Look, golf isn’t — like golf’s not going to be as high speed, you know, body contact, people tackling. Like that’s just golf, right? But I think most fans understand that and we can’t — like I’m not going to go dance down the fairway or celebrate differently on a birdie putt on the sixth hole on Friday. But just seeing birdie putts and seeing more shots, that’s going to bring more viewers in because you can actually watch golf, right?
“So that’s already going to make it entertaining of itself. You can’t change what golf is. You can’t change the aspect of we’ve got 18 holes, you’ve got players to start on Thursday, you’re going to have two waves, all this stuff, you can’t change that, right But you can change the fact of seeing more golf shots and that’s a big part of actually saying I want to go watch golf, right?”
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 30, 2024
As other sports continue to gather larger audiences, Morikawa said that getting more eyeballs on golf is the key.
“But at this point right now where we’re at, it’s a lot of money that we’re playing for and I’m very thankful to be doing that, but I also see that we need more people to be interested in golf,” he said. “We need to make golf more intriguing to the viewers. How do we make broadcasting more approachable, how do we see more golf shots at the end of the day, right?
“I turn on golf on a Thursday if I play early, I turn it on and I see three golf shots and I question why. The reason why other sports are — people pay attention is because people see more, you can probably bet more. People like betting when you can watch it live, not watch it on ShotTracer.”
With its new status as a signature event, there are sure to be millions of eyeballs on Pebble Beach this weekend.