A week ago, this scribe clattered out the column on the train down to Sandwich. Yesterday we clattered out the column on the train back up from Sandwich. “Have you got a reservation?,” asked the conductor suspiciously as he peered at my booking while gently caressing his duelling scar. “Aye, I’m not sure this column is going to be very good,” I replied with the resigned sigh of a man writing his own eviction notice. At that point, he took one look at this intro and rubber stamped my laptop.

The Open Championship is over for another year. That the R&A got it played again after last season’s Covid cancellation was a triumph in itself even if there were days when trying to enter and exit the grounds amid the clogged narrow lanes and back roads of this particular parish was a bit like trying to move a wayward ball that was buried in the brutal Royal St George’s rough. You just about needed to take a wedge to your bloomin’ car to dig it out of the jams.

The ultimate triumph, of course, belonged to Collin Morikawa who displayed great modesty, maturity, grace and appreciation in the aftermath of a monumental win on his debut in golf’s oldest major. He was such a great champion, even the engraving chisel carving his name on to the plinth band of the Claret Jug gave a nod of approval.

At just 24, Morikawa has already propelled himself into a shimmering pantheon with two major wins in just eight starts. And he’s only been a professional since 2019. It’s a phenomenal effort. His rise has been so rapid, he’ll probably need to spend the next few days in a decompression chamber. Then again, Morikawa will just shrug off the hoopla and hype and get on doing what he clearly loves. He comes across as a pretty cool customer who has the head for heights and his approach to game is all about enjoying the moment and embracing and revelling in the various challenges that this fickle game presents. He also has that special something, that wire connected somewhere, that separates the best from the rest.

Apart from that telling thrust of three birdies in a row before the turn in the final round, Morikawa didn’t do anything truly spectacular. Once he had seized the lead, the Californian displayed unwavering poise and precision in what was a masterclass in front-running golf, technical ability and mental fortitude. He had a couple of potentially damaging excursions into the rough but he salvaged both situations with composed, clinical conviction. What were we saying about embracing and revelling in the challenges again?

Jordan Spieth threw everything at the leader with a back nine of 32 but the man in front stood firm. At one stage, you half expected a kitchen sink to land at Morikawa’s feet as he mulled over an approach into the 15th.

Like Morikawa, Spieth burst on to the major scene. He had plundered two titles, the Masters and the US Open of 2015, in his first 10 major starts. “I just remember everything was easy, everything was fun, things were going your way,” reflected Spieth of that profitable spell of golfing joie de vivre which would spawn another major in 2017 when he won the Claret Jug at Royal Birkdale.

Of course, Spieth has not added to that major haul and has had plenty of toils and troubles with his game in recent years before this welcome resurgence. It happens to the best of them in an unpredictable pursuit of fluctuating fortunes.

Morikawa is riding the crest of a wave and who knows what he can go on to achieve? The golfing gods don’t dish out guarantees, though. When Rory McIlroy won his fourth major crown at the age of just 25 back in 2014, for instance, did you think he’d be sitting here in 2021 still stuck on that tally?

It’s a funny, infuriating old game. As for Morikawa? Well, he’s simply savouring his major moments “At 24-years-old, it's so hard to look back at the two short years that I have been a pro and see what I've done because I want more,” he said of his hunger to add more prizes and polish to an already sparkling cv.

When the sky’s the limit, there’s no point looking down.


It was definitely a case of quality rather than quantity for Scotland at The Open. The sight of just one man from the game’s cradle in the field last week would’ve had Old Tom Morris spinning in his grave. We’re fortunate we have a special talent in Robert MacIntyre, though. His second top-10 in as many Open appearances was another exciting statement of intent from the Oban lefthander on the biggest stage.

MacIntyre, who played in the Walker Cup of 2017 against a US side featuring a certain Collin Morikawa, is off to America this week for more PGA Tour experience. No disrespect to the European Tour – and MacIntyre will always be a loyal supporter of his home circuit – but making inroads on the best and most lucrative circuit in the world will hopefully become an increasingly irresistible lure as he continues to pursue ever loftier ambitions.