How is Collin Morikawa’s back after falling from 1st to 11th in the FedEx Cup Playoffs? Well, he can touch his toes.
In just two weeks, Collin Morikawa went from the penthouse to the outhouse – albeit a pretty fancy one where he still has a shot at FedEx Cup riches.
Morikawa won the regular season title as the leading points-earner during the PGA Tour’s first 47 events of the 50-event “super season.” But he missed the cut at the Northern Trust and finished T-63 (out of 69) in the no-cut BMW Championship and with points quadrupled in the first two legs of the three-event FedEx Cup playoffs, Morikawa has tumbled to 11th. Because of the staggered scoring format used at the Tour Championship, instead of holding a two-stroke lead as the polesetter, a spot now held by Patrick Cantlay, he’s seven strokes back.
“I think I laid out the blueprint for what this format is,” Morikawa said. “If you start, or finish the regular season at first and you pretty much don’t accumulate any points, how far you might possibly drop down to 11th. It is what it is. I’ve heard other players talk about how they like it, how they don’t like it. I think it’s awesome to know that everyone has a chance this week.”
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Quite a precipitous fall, but not one that dampened Morikawa’s enthusiasm for taking home the silver trophy and $15 million bonus prize on Sunday.
“It’s not going to scare me from anything,” he said. “I’m coming out here hopefully starting Thursday and we’re going to start playing well and put everything together.”
Morikawa’s goal all along was to peak this week. His regular-season performance, which included victories at the WGC Workday Championship and British Open, meant he was always going to make it to East Lake.
“How do I peak at this week, not peak at the first week because you could play well the first two weeks and have a bad week here and then you lose everything,” he said, adding, “Does it suck to be 11th? Absolutely.”
But Morikawa has come from behind to win from deficits before. In fact, he roared back to win from six behind at the midway point of the 2020 PGA Championship.
There’s also good reason why Morikawa finds himself with his back against the door to play well this week – he injured his back.
“It happened first round of the Olympics and then something else kind of happened in between Memphis and Liberty National, so during that week off,” he explained of a pulled muscle in his left lower back. “It was all gone by the time I teed off at Liberty (Northern Trust). There’s no excuses there for a bad back, so everyone can put that aside. My back is fine now… I can touch my toes now. I’m all good.”
The mistake he made was playing at the WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational the week after the Tokyo Olympics and trying to play around the injury. He developed some bad habits, or as he put it, “built bad patterns into my swing.” His longtime instructor Rick Sessinghaus flew in for a session last week and helped get him back on track.
“I was trying to teach myself last week at BMW how to swing like my old self. We’re working back there. I’m pretty much, I would call it 95 percent back to the original swing. There’s just a couple little kinks here and there that show up…There’s one thing that I need to figure out today, but for the most part all the bad patterns that I’ve worked in Memphis that I should have never played injured, really, have been pushed out. So that’s what’s good.”
And should he win the $15 million pot of gold at the end of the FedEx Cup rainbow, how would he spend it?
“Maybe go have a nice dinner,” he said.