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Collin Morikawa returns to The Open at Royal Liverpool as one of 15 past champions in the field for golf’s oldest major.

The American’s finest hour so far came with his epic two-stroke victory over Jordan Spieth at Royal St George’s, as he mastered the links test with incredible ease despite his relative inexperience.

But the world No.19 has not enjoyed silverware since lifting the iconic Claret Jug at Sandwich two years ago and heads to Hoylake chasing long-awaited glory.

bunkered.co.uk caught up with the Rolex Testimonee about his special relationship with the championship and detailed the advice from Justin Thomas that turned out to be the most important of his career…

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What does The Open mean to you?

There are only four majors during the year. Everyone knows that The Open is really the home of golf – it is where the game started. Receiving the Claret Jug in 2021 was extremely special as it contains so much of the history of the game.

Links golf is a style of golf that I am not used to, and that I have not have much opportunity to play before – it incorporates a lot of new but old aspects. The question was not about how quickly I could learn to play the courses, but rather could I adapt my style into something that started the history of our sport. 

Arnold Palmer said he had to come to the UK to win The Open because he had to have it on his resume. Where did it stand in your list of goals?

The question I posed myself was whether I can win around the world. It was not necessarily about checking a box regarding winning over in Europe but about achieving part of my goal to win all four majors.

There is only a small list of current players who have achieved this as it is so hard to do. It shows the practice and skill that I have dedicated to the game, I am not aiming to only win in one place. My aim is to bring my best game all over the world.

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

It was my first week on the PGA Tour as a professional, we were at the RBC Canadian Open in 2019, and Justin Thomas said: “No one can decide your path – it can be long or short. If you truly love what you are doing, and you really believe that you are going to make it to the PGA Tour, or whether you will achieve Tour dreams, the path will come to fruition and it will be there. One just has to keep going, and to continue to work hard.”

I do not know where he got this advice but it is one of the most important pieces he could have offered me as an upcoming golfer.

Since then, that has really stuck. If I was earning these sponsor exemptions, and then spots in tournament, I knew that at some point we were going to make it to the PGA Tour. But he said: “It could be tomorrow, it could be in five years, it could be in 10 years.”

This journey also defines golf. It is the unknown. It can be quick, it can be tough, but it can be easy. As long as you love the journey, you are going to love the process, and it will hopefully allow you to achieve your dreams.

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How do you like to relax and spend time away from the course?

I am very lucky to travel the world, mainly in the US with my wife Katherine for 25 weeks of the year, and we visit so many places. We live out of a suitcase for most of the year, so when we are home, I enjoy being able to relax and to spend quality time with our dog.

It is important to separate yourself from the golf course and to remain active while doing other activities. This is the best quality time, as we spend so much time on the golf course, focusing on the game, and to master its craft. 

How do you see the role of The R&A within the world of golf? 

I personally think the R&A and USGA have to work together simultaneously. Everyone can have their own goals and their own reaches but they should work towards making golf more accessible.

They should question how do we make golf enjoyable, along with questioning the overall perception of the game of golf.

When you look at perception of brands around the world, everyone has a different way of defining the game. We can ask a professional golfer and an outsider and they will have differing answers.

Overall, I think the perception on the game has been defined by history, and the aim should be to make it more accessible in general. To help redefine the game of golf, and to open its arms.

Colin Morikawa

Collin Morikawa was speaking to bunkered.co.uk as a Rolex Testimonee after joining the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth in being associated with the brand in 2023.

“It is a legacy, an everlasting lifetime relationship that you become in joining a family – part of the Rolex family,” he said. “Since joining, this is how I have felt from day one. Everyone at Rolex have made me feel very comfortable and welcomed, whether that is touring the Rolex factory or meeting the Rolex team. It has been an honour and privilege to meet everyone, and to be embraced with open arms into the heart of what Rolex represents.

“Even the activity of admiring watches is enjoyable, because not only do I love them but it allows a nice distraction away from the game of golf.”

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