It already has been a successful year for Collin Morikawa, and a strong performance this weekend at the Zozo Championship just might be the cherry on top.
Morikawa enjoyed a strong 2021 PGA Tour season that included a win at the WGC-Workday Championship, a victory at the Open Championship for his second career major, a tie for third at the Tokyo Olympics (he ultimately lost the bronze medal in a seven-way playoff) and a 3-0-1 showing to help the United States win the Ryder Cup.
He made his first appearance in the 2021-22 season at last week's CJ Cup at Summit in Las Vegas, where Morikawa continued his run of success by finishing second in his hometown. And now, the 24-year-old is hoping to author a strong effort at the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in the greater Tokyo area.
Morikawa, a Los Angeles native who is of Japanese descent, said that winning the Zozo Championship in Japan "would mean a lot."
The third-ranked player in the world, Morikawa noted that this is his fifth lifetime trip to Japan and the fourth for a golf tournament. He made a late charge during the Olympics to get into the medal contention.
"My first time (in Japan) was in 2016, so I've pretty much come back once a year almost and it's just getting better and better," Morikawa said. "Obviously I wish we could go out and travel and explore the city a little more. Some of my favorite parts of being a professional golfer (are exploring the cities), but just to be here in a Japan, to play for the fans once again, just that added motivation to try and win."
Morikawa is particularly excited to play in front of the Japanese fans, especially after that aspect of the Olympic experience was lacking over the summer.
"These are some of the best fans," Morikawa said. "Obviously I was here earlier for the Olympics and we didn't have anyone and it just felt dull. Even though it was the Olympics and we knew what we were playing for, it just has a different feeling when you have fans. ... They bring so much energy.
"I've said it since we returned from COVID -- it's just really good to see people out here again."
--Field Level Media