Thoughtful Thursday: Collin Morikawa, the major champion who played to learn.

We may have had to wait a long time for the first Major Championship of 2020 but it was certainly worth all the anticipation.

Personally, I didn’t manage to see the back 9 live, way past my bedtime, but I have since seen it on catch up. If a dramatic ending to a Major Championship is your thing, you would not have been disappointed. What a finish!

I think I am correct in saying that at one point there were seven players tied for the lead and it would have taken a braver man than I to predict the winner at that point.

As we all now know, Collin Morikawa emerged triumphant and his only minor blip on Sunday was almost dropping the famous Wanamaker Trophy during the prize giving.

He showed such amazing maturity and composure all week, so much so that is would be easy to forget that despite having won three times on the PGA Tour already, including a Major, he has only been a Pro for 14 months. Astonishing.

Much has been said about Morikawa having only missed one cut in his professional career so far and made his first 22 consecutive cuts, a feat surpassed only by Tiger Woods. That in itself is some achievement.

Over and above that, he is one of only 4 players to have won the PGA by the age of 23. The others being Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus. Pretty lofty company.

The young man from Los Angeles is a former number one ranked amateur in the world but beyond that, until recently, I knew very little of his background. That was until I listened to a podcast hosted by my good friend and co-author of “The Lost Art” books Karl Morris.
Karl’s guest on this particular podcast was Rick Sessinghaus who has coached Morikawa since he was 8 years old.

During the 44 minute podcast, Rick talked in depth about how most of their coaching and learning was done on the golf course, not on the driving range trying to perfect backswing positions. For those of you who know me, you will understand that this was music to my ears. Sweet music at that.

Sessinghaus, who is a Certified Mind Factor coach (something else we have in common) talked about how the young Collin played to learn rather than learned to play. Again, that resonated strongly with me as I have been banging on about it for years!

From what I could gather from the podcast, Sessinghaus wanted the young Morikawa to learn how to adapt and adjust to the ever changing environment that the golf course provides every time we step on the first tee. He taught him how to be creative and that golf is not about making the same swing time after time but hitting the right shot at the right time, whatever that particular shot may be.
He also taught him about decision making, course management, the mental aspect of playing golf as well as the basic fundamentals. Essentially he created a fantastic environment to enable him to learn how to play golf on the golf course, something that all and I do mean all golf coaches should encourage their students to do.

Play to learn not learn to play. Something I strongly recommend everyone who plays golf should consider.
Morikawa is now being touted as the next big thing in golf by some and who am I to say he won’t be. Time will tell. I do however know that golf at the highest level appears to be in very good hands and with two more Majors to look forward to this year, it will certainly be interesting to see if the young guns continue to walk away with the silverware or whether some of the more seasoned campaigners will have something to say about that.

Either way, this year’s US Open and Masters will no doubt make for exciting viewing despite the lack of spectators or “patrons”.

To find out more about Collin Morikawa and his coach Rick Sessinghaus, check out Karl Morris and his Brain Booster podcast, which is always well worth a listen.

Until next time. Take care, have fun and keep on playing to learn.

Gary Nicol