Rolex Series

Morikawa staying grounded as history beckons in Dubai

Collin Morikawa may be on the edge of making European Tour history at this week's DP World Tour Championship, Dubai but the American is keeping his feet firmly on the ground.

Collin Morikawa

The 24-year-old only turned professional in 2019 but wasted no time in establishing himself as one of the very top players in the game, winning the US PGA Championship at the age of just 23.

2021 has brought even more success with a second Major Championship win at The Open, a first World Golf Championships triumph at the WGC-Workday Championship at The Concession and a victorious Ryder Cup debut.

And despite arriving at Jumeirah Golf Estates at the top of the Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex and knowing that a maiden Rolex Series victory will make him the first American to be crowned European Number One, Morikawa was refusing to get carried away.

"I still feel like I'm the same person," he said. "I've learned lessons through golf and through the world that's personal to me and that's going to stay in my head but, when it comes to trying to win a Tour Championship, win the Race to Dubai, a lot has to go into it.

Collin Morikawa

"I'm not taking this week lightly. I've put a lot of work in the last week, the past couple of days to be ready and to come out here and play as best as I can.

"Yes, we're at the tail end of the season and I made that mistake with the PGA Tour and the FedEx Cup, went injuring myself and getting a little unfortunate the way the play-offs worked. I worked so hard through the regular season to put myself in a good spot that I don't want to let this go.

"I think I said this last year, you don't know how many chances you're going to get to win a Race to Dubai and I've been very lucky to play well this year in a Major and the WGC to get me in that position. But I want to come out here and win. If I win, it takes care of everything.

"At the end of the day, I'm still playing four rounds. And yes, it is a season long race but this tournament means a lot to me too. I want to come out here and I wouldn't show up if I didn't think I could win.

"So I'm sure there's a lot of scenarios out there but if I start worrying about them, they might come true, I could be on the bad end of that.

I worked so hard through the regular season to put myself in a good spot that I don't want to let this go

"I've been a pro for two-and-a-half years and the things I've been able to accomplish I'm very thankful for. But we're back here and the main focus is to try and win.

"It's exciting. When your game feels good, when you head into a week like this, even with a lot of travel, you do as much prep as you can by Thursday and you just get ready to play some great golf."

Morikawa has already made a little piece of history this week by becoming just the fifth American after Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Patrick Reed to be handed Honorary Life Membership of the European Tour.

But while much focus will be on his attempt to make history as an American on the European Tour, Morikawa insists his aims are truly global.

"It's a very strong, strong list," he said of his fellow American Honorary Members. "And when you're a part of that group and you're able to make history as the first American, hopefully that sets the stage to see this is a growing game around the world.

Collin Morikawa

"It's all about growing the game. How do we grow the game for the world and create opportunities? I think that's the biggest thing.

"I've talked about it since day one. I've been very fortunate as a kid growing up. I had what I needed to succeed and I took that and I didn't take it for granted, but I enjoy this game.

"But I was very lucky. There's many people around the world, and now that we get to travel to certain places, obviously we travel a lot of places in the States, but slowly travel around the world and you see the opportunities just aren't the same.

"That's what it's about, how do we grow this game. And that's what we're supposed to do as athletes, as professional athletes. We're looked up at from little kids, from children that see us as role models. And we have to do our part to leave an impact.

"Obviously we have personal goals trying to win tournaments, but it's how do you leave a legacy and impacting the game for the future."

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