Golf's next superstar? Historical past suggests Collin Morikawa might be no …

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It is stunning to think that Morikawa has only been in the paid ranks for 14 months and that three of those months were wiped out by the pandemic.

This was only Morikawa’s second major. It was only his 27th professional start. Woods won the 1997 Masters on his 17th professional start. But that was his seventh major. Woods won three PGA Tour titles before Augusta, Morikawa won twice before Harding Park. Morikawa made his first 22 cuts as a pro, a feat surpassed, you guessed it, by only Woods with 25.

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Golf's next superstar? History suggests Collin Morikawa will be no …

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Everywhere one peers on Morikawa’s pristine CV are startling facts. For instance, his Saturday and Sunday scores were 65 and 64 and nobody has ever shot fewer in the final two rounds of a male major. Morikawa is up to world No  5 and could conceivably be No 1 by the end of this month.

He has the game and attitude that scream longevity and the Tour stalwarts insist they knew it from the start, picking him out from this veritable cavalry of young Americans who spread fear through Europe’s Ryder Cup team room.

Golf's next superstar? History suggests Collin Morikawa will be no …

England’s Paul Casey said: “There’s always kind of a new wave, always a bunch of guys that rock up on the scene, and Collin didn’t necessarily get the most publicity out of the group he was in, but you know, I consider myself veteran; I’ve been around the block, so I know talent when I see it, know when somebody is that good, and Collin was that good.

“We, the veterans could just tell – he’s the one. Even if the media weren’t talking about him, that’s where we were focusing our attention. And we weren’t wrong. ­Instant maturity was probably the one thing that stood out; the way he speaks, the way he plays golf. He’s really stamped his authority.”

Casey, of course, has the bruises as evidence. The 43-year-old had just birdied the 16th to tie with Morikawa and dream of his own major duck being broken and England’s first Wanamaker Trophy in 101 years being lifted, when this studious young man stepped up to that drivable par four and conjured one of the strikes of the ages.

It was anything but gung-ho. Morikawa’s playing partner, Cameron Champ, remarked that it was so perfect it looked like it came out of “a video game”.