Collin Morikawa will be a U.S. Men's Golf "Calympian" in Tokyo
A strong finish over the weekend at the U.S. Open clinched the Olympic berth for the Cal Alum
Golf returned to the Summer Olympics back in 2016, after only being a part of the program in 1900 and 1904. For the 2016 Rio Games, Cal alum Byeong-Hun (Ben) An, an offspring of a South Korean Table Tennis Olympian and a Chinese Table Tennis Olympian who met at the 1988 Olympics, represented South Korea and Cal. For 2021, Cal Men’s Golf will again have a representative - budding PGA superstar Collin Morikawa for Team USA.
Over the weekend, Morikawa was in contention at the 2021 US Open played at Torrey Pines. After briefly being atop the crowded leaderboard on Sunday’s final round, Morikawa’s bid for a second PGA Major resulted in a tie for 4th place at -2, 4 shots behind winner Jon Rahm (an ASU alum who will also be a Spanish Olympian). Morikawa clinched a spot as a top-4 ranked (via the Official World Golf Ranking) US golfer (although with Dustin Johnson long declared his intention to decline the Olympics, he just needed to be in the top-5).
Ranked 4th in the World, Morikawa will be one of four golfers to represent the United States in Tokyo. Also qualified for Team USA are Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau, and Xander Schauffele. It will be a completely different quartet to represent Team USA than at 2016 Rio. There will also be three brand new Olympic medalists after Justin Rose (Great Britain), Henrik Stenson (Sweden), and Matt Kuchar (USA) all failed to qualify this year. Morikawa should be a serious contender to medal.
Morikawa, who has both Japanese and Chinese heritage, is thrilled to be a 1st-time Olympian, as he told the Golf Channel at the conclusion of the U.S. Open.
“I'm so excited. Obviously, it's a little consolation to not winning here this week, but I'm going to go and play,” Morikawa said on Sunday. “It's going to be one of the best things of my life. To think back that I was an amateur two years ago, literally two years ago, and to be on this team and to be heading to Tokyo puts a smile on my face. I'm really excited.”
Just a few weeks ago, Morikawa’s bid to become a “Calympian” was still somewhat tenuous.
He was able to move up in the rankings with 2nd place at the Memorial, where he lost in the playoffs, followed by the U.S. Open 4th place.
The men’s competition in the Tokyo Olympics will be contested July 29 – Aug. 1 at Kasumigaseki Country Club. Morikawa will next play in the Scottish Open as a tune-up for the British Open (July 11-18), where he will continue his bid for a 2nd Major Championship.
They might have technically “met” at the Asian Games prior to the Olympics.
Morikawa had a great chance to win at the Open but missed a two footer and a three footer on the back nine. If he can improve his putting he has a chance to be the dominant force in golf.