Why Collin Morikawa’s new technique for aiming putts could make-or-break his PGA Championship - jobs fights tigma
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Why Collin Morikawa’s new technique for aiming putts could make-or-break his PGA Championship

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Why Collin Morikawa’s new technique for aiming putts could make-or-break his PGA Championship

TULSA, Okla. – Collin Morikawa is aiming to win his third major championship this week at Southern Hills and his ability to aim his putts properly may be the key to doing just that.

Morikawa, the 2020 PGA Championship winner, is renowned for his ballstriking, which makes him one of the favorites this week at a venue where precision may be valued more than distance.

If Morikawa has a weakness in his arsenal, it has been putting. He ranked No. 179 in Strokes Gained: putting last season. He’s already experiencing his best season with the short stick of his young career, improving to No. 63 in gaining strokes for the first time (+0.218). Now, Morikawa is set to change things up yet again as he is now drawing a line on his ball to help with alignment.

“Just to kind of see if I can see putts a little differently, read them better, stroke them a little better,” he said.

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Morikawa picked up the technique from playing with Viktor Hovland in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. The two partnered together in the team event. Hovland uses a line on his ball.

“I hit it maybe two or three times during Zurich just to try, because trust me, we could not make a putt for our life,” Morikawa said. “I was trying to use a line, and just messed around last couple weeks just seeing if I could use it, if I could not use it. I’ve never used a line in my life. I just never felt comfortable over it. But I found a way to where I feel like I can stroke the putt. ”

Morikawa said he’s been practicing with a line for the past couple of weeks.

“Do I wish I had maybe another event to try it out? Yeah, but we’re here, ”he said. “Taking risks.”

Morikawa compared it to when Hall of Famer Mark O’Meara taught him the “saw putting grip” and he adopted and shortly thereafter won the 2021 WGC-Workday Championship at The Concession thanks to a stellar putting week.

“Like, it felt so good that it just kind of brought something out in my putting, even though when I first tried it I made nothing. The first week I used it at Riviera last year I made nothing. Hopefully that’s not the case this week. It’s a minor change, but it’s not really changing how I feel over the putt, which is the biggest thing. It’s just helping me put my putter down to where I want it to be. ”

When Morikawa puts well, it’s almost not a fair fight. So it will be interesting to see how the line on the ball impacts his performance and whether he sticks with it. It’s a small change but one that could play a big factor in Morikawa’s chances of nabbing a second Wanamaker Trophy. And it feels like a bold move for someone who considers himself more of a feel player than a technical one.

“I think putting a line takes out a variable of where I’m aiming. The line at least just tells me and then I can just feel everything else after that, ”he said. “For me, I like taking out variables. I like to know the reasons why, this, that. And that’s the thing, is for me you can see some patterns putting over the past three years, but sometimes you do not know. Sometimes maybe I’m not even aiming where I say I am because it’s literally – I lined it up blank; there’s nothing on top. Hopefully this kind of gives me a little more answers on where to go. ”

Morikawa said he did not see any reason why he would switch his strategy mid-tournament.

“It’s feeling so good the past couple days, past two weeks really, that I’m going to trust it,” he said.

He added: “I keep thinking back, what’s the difference between when you win events and when you do not win, and sometimes it’s just a mentality type of thing. You show up to a tournament and you have this kind of feeling. Some weeks you show up and it’s just kind of smooth sailing and you’re just ready to win, and sometimes you just need to tell yourself that and hopefully you can translate that into good golf. ”

Drawing a line on his ball may go a long way in determining which type of week it will be for the World No. 3 and two-time major winner.

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