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Morikawa’s ice-cold mental strength marks him out as golf’s newest superstar

By the time he reached the end of golf’s most famous walk, politely acknowledging the tumultuous applause with a nod and a smile, the world knew his name.

Collin Morikawa.

It is not news across the Atlantic but this was nerveless confirmation that sport has a bona fide, new superstar in its midst.

His first Open win, his second Major. And make no mistake, it will be the second of many.

Throughout his entire final round – and from gun to tournament tape – it was not so much about the fearlessness of youth for the 24-year-old Californian as about cold-steel mental strength.

His temperament allowed his technique to flourish.

Collin Morikawa put together a faultless final round as he became the 2021 Open Championship winner

When Louis Oosthuizen’s challenge imploded with a bunker-to-bunker bogey on the day’s easiest hole, Morikawa birdied.

When Jordan Spieth became a touch errant off the tee, Morikawa was as gun-straight as the two Spitfires that buzzed the course mid-round.

Oosthuizen, who had begun the day a shot ahead of the eventual champion, faded badly but Spieth attacked with renewed vigour.

Morikawa simply put the blinkers and ear-defenders on.

It is unlikely he even heard the roaring soundtrack to a Jon Rahm charge.

The Spaniard and Oosthuizen would eventually finish four shots behind Morikawa’s 15-under total with Spieth taking second place on 13-under.

But in truth, after Morikawa went ahead on his seventh hole of the day, the rest never laid a glove on him.

His four-under par round of 66 was faultless.

Morikawa was a deserving winner
Morikawa was a deserving winner

Whenever the prospect of a dropped shot poked its head above the tall rough, as it did on the 15th, Morikawa crushed it with a clutch putt.

He was just unflappable, ice-cool under a burning sun.

It was a sight that will become familiar. The last player to win on his Open debut was Ben Curtis, on this very same track 18 years ago.

Curtis would win only three more tournaments in the rest of his career.

It would be a huge surprise if Morikawa, who won his first on his PGA Championship debut in 2020, does not win at least three more Majors, never mind run-of-the-mill events.

When it comes to domination of world golf, there has been a smattering of players who have briefly shaped as successors to Tiger Woods.

Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Spieth.

Rahm has been making a decent fist of it lately, Bryson DeChambeau has been talking himself up in some style.

But while his game might not boast the Tiger pyrotechnics, it is clear Morikawa will have the Woods winning mentality.

He is blinkered to everything but success.

An all-conquering amateur, he has now won five times since turning professional two years ago.

Morikawa wowed the crowds at Sandwich
Morikawa wowed the crowds at Sandwich

In front of a wonderful Open crowd, this was surely the one he has savoured most.

Such was his command, he COULD savour it, having stood on the 18th tee with a two-shot cushion.

And the way he played the last hole was a four-shot summary of his Championship brilliance.

A three-wood that split the fairway, an iron that found the heart of the green and two textbook putts.

Only then, did he let his emotions spill out, returning the crowd’s acclaim with applause of his own.

They got on famously all week, which is just as well as you suspect they are going to be seeing a lot more of each other.

It was a week when these galleries got to know a special talent. It was a week when global sport got to know a special talent.

It was a week when we all got to know Collin Morikawa.

What did you think of Collin Morikawa performance? Comment below




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