Collin Morikawa to play to his strengths at PGA’s Masters

Collin Morikawa stretches before hitting on the driving range during a practice round for the M ...

Collin Morikawa’s most vivid memory of the Masters is gathering with his Cal teammates at a house in Berkeley to watch Tiger Woods’ improbable victory in 2019.

“That Sunday was booked out to do nothing but watch TV,” he recalled Monday. “We were all just glued to it.”

Fast forward three years later, and Morikawa arrives at Augusta National looking for the third leg of a career grand slam. A green jacket would fit quite nicely in his Las Vegas home with his 2020 Wanamaker Trophy and 2021 Claret Jug.

Morikawa believes he has the right mindset to play well this week.

“I just need to play my game,” he said.

His first two attempts in the Masters resulted in made cuts, but Morikawa failed to contend. He blames that on trying to play the course the way he was told — hit a lot of draws — rather than the way he naturally plays — hit a lot of cuts.

Morikawa said he hit more draws off tees at Augusta last year than he hit the rest of the season, and that created issues, even when he pulled off the shots.

“I was just making it so much tougher. I was trying to hit these shots that, you know, aren’t my go-to shots,” he said. “It was starting a hole off uncomfortably.”

This week, he said, he’ll play the course to his strengths: hitting fairways and relying on his superb iron game.

“I need to stick to that,” he said.

Morikawa also recognizes a need to keep a level head, putt well and remember his game is good enough to win big events.

“My standards have gone up, and sometimes my standards are too high,” he said of setting expectations after so many high points in his brief time on the PGA Tour. “And that ends up hurting me.”

Morikawa said he needs to keep his focus on just getting better. If that happens, victories and success will take care of themselves.

“So many guys out here think about so much,” he mused, saying keeping it simple and just playing golf is when he thrives. “At the end of the day, just get the ball in the hole. Figure out a way to get the ball in the hole.”

Jarvis’ big ask

UNLV freshman Aaron Jarvis had plenty of courage but not a lot of success when it came to his Sunday practice round at Augusta National.

The 19-year-old, who is in the field after his win in the Latin American Amateur in January, was on the course with U.S. Amateur champion James Piot when Tiger Woods showed up and headed out to the back nine alone. The amateurs decided to take a chance.

“I thought would I give it a shot,” Jarvis said. “I ran up to him and ran through the woods and asked, ‘Mr. Woods, are you playing by yourself or can we join?’”

The answer was polite, but the five-time champion preferred to play alone.

“You know, there’s no better ‘no’ from — or better rejection — than from Tiger Woods, right?” Jarvis said.

In the end, it wasn’t a complete loss. When their round was finished, Woods spent about 10 minutes with Jarvis back at the clubhouse, an experience he called “incredible.”

Nye County Amateur

Cameron Barzekoff lapped the field over the weekend in winning the Nye County Amateur at Mountain Falls Golf Club in Pahrump.

Barzekoff finished at 8-under 136 for a seven-shot victory over Josh Goldstein and eight better than Daren Johnson. Only six rounds were shot under par for the event, and two belonged to the champion.

In the Senior division, Todd Roberts finished at 3-over 147 for a one-shot margin over James Corey and Kelly Knievel, while Gary Carpendale won the Silver division by three shots over Cyrus Whitney.

Other winners included Jay Ship (Championship net), David Golder (Senior net) and George Yocum (Silver net).

Greg Robertson covers golf for the Review-Journal. He can be reached at grobertson@reviewjournal.com.