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Defending US PGA champion Collin Morikawa is relishing the packed major championship schedule as he targets more career-defining victories in golf’s biggest events.
Morikawa’s victory at Harding Park last year took place in August but was still the first major of the rejigged season due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the Open Championship cancelled, the US Open held in September and the Masters in November.
With the sporting world gradually getting back to normal, the US PGA returns to the May date it moved to in 2019 and also to 2012 venue Kiawah Island, where Rory McIlroy stormed to an eight-shot victory.
Morikawa was still in school then and only saw the course for the first time the day after finishing 18th in the Masters, but the 24-year-old is firmly in favour of having a major every month from April to July.
“Oh, I love it,” the world number six said. “We love majors. That’s what we’re trying to win.
“Now that I’ve had one, you realise why guys want to win majors, why major championships kind of define what a player’s resume is going to look like at the end of their career.
“I want that energy again, to have that feeling of being in contention with nine holes to go, with five holes to go, hitting a great shot. That’s what we live for. That’s what we love to do.”
At a maximum of 7,876 yards, Kiawah Island is the longest course in major championship history and the Pete Dye-designed coastal layout promises to pose a tough test for the world’s best players.
“I think it’s definitely a ball-striker’s course,” Morikawa added. “You have to be able to control your ball. You have to be able to flight different shots, work it left to right, right to left, and that kind of suits me.
“Greens are pretty small, but man, talk about that back nine, starting from hole nine and on, it’s a very good finishing stretch of golf, especially with the wind, the way it picked up. You’re going to be tested on every shot.
“I was hitting a bunch of six, five, four irons into greens, even had a couple of five woods. You really can’t get lazy on any of these shots. You can’t take anything for granted because it will bite you on the butt for sure.
“Thankfully I got to see it and got kind of a head start on what it’s going to be like because I know it’s going to be tough now.
“If I showed up on a Monday like I normally would before this event, it would take me actually a little longer on this course because it is so unique on the second shots, on where you have to hit it, where you have to miss it.
“We talked about these, I guess they’re not called bunkers, the sandy areas, the waste bunkers. Usually we like bunkers (but) you don’t really know what kind of lies you’re going to get, so we’re going to have to kind of readjust and figure out what the best strategy is out here to make some birdies.”