‘It sucked’: Collin Morikawa hands over Claret Jug, begins British Open prep at Old Course to reclaim it

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ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Collin Morikawa’s possession of the Claret Jug came to an end Monday morning.

It was not an easy separation.

“It sucked. It really did,” Morikawa said in his pre-tournament meeting with the media Monday at the Old Course, home to the 150th Open Championship. “I woke up this morning and looked at it. The replica is beautiful, but it’s not the same. It really isn’t. It will never be.

“But I don’t want to dwell on the past. I think I’ve talked about that early on in my career. I always look forward to what’s next. Maybe hopefully just giving it back kind of frees me up and allows me just to focus on winning this week.”

In his first start in the Open Championship, Morikawa held off Jordan Spieth and Louis Oosthuizen to win the Claret Jug last year at Royal St. George’s (Morikawa also won the PGA Championship in 2020 at TPC Harding Park in his first start).

Morikawa is making his first start at the Old Course, the rumpled, flat grounds nestled in the city. The Home of Golf was love at first sight for Morikawa.

“I can see why guys love it,” he said. “I can see how special this week can be. I can see how the course can play a million different ways, depending on the weather.

“Looks like we’re going to get some pretty consistent weather and some wind patterns this week. I think overall you’ve just got to be ready to play some good golf because you’re going to get some good bounces and probably some bad ones.”

Morikawa, ranked No. 8 in the Official World Golf Ranking, has not won in 2022. Trying to reclaim the Claret Jug might be the final push to victory.

“Now that I know what it’s like to have the Claret Jug for a year, there’s nothing like it. It’s a really special year,” he said. “Even though you won that tournament a year ago, it’s going to be in your history for the rest of your life. And it’s pretty cool. I think trying to defend this week at the 150th at St Andrews would be even more special.”