Collin Morikawa keen to draw inspiration from family ties to Hawaii at Sony Open

World number five Collin Morikawa has extra motivation to put last week’s disappointing finish behind him in the second event of the PGA Tour’s Hawaii double-header.

Morikawa went into the final round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Maui just a shot off the lead after back-to-back rounds of 65, only to struggle to a closing 73 and finish in a tie for seventh.

The US PGA champion has family ties to both Maui – where his grandparents were born and once owned a restaurant – and this week’s venue for the Sony Open on the island of Oahu, where many of his cousins still live.

“We have so many cousins I lose count,” the 23-year-old joked in a pre-tournament press conference.

“I love the Hawaii swing. Any time I can start in Maui, come to Oahu, I’m going to be playing. Obviously having family out here, my entire dad’s side, it makes things a little more special and makes it feel more like home even though I never lived here.

“Any time you have a tie to a location or a golf course, whatever it is, it just makes you want to kind of win at that location a little more. So hopefully we have a good week this week.”

Morikawa’s victory in the US PGA in August came in just his second appearance in a major and was his third win since turning professional in June 2019, but he was not satisfied with his form afterwards until a tie for 10th on his European Tour debut in Dubai.

Collin Morikawa
Collin Morikawa

“I wouldn’t say golf has been great the tail end of 2020 but I think I’ve kind of turned it around slowly at the end of December when I played on the European Tour,” Morikawa added.

“I just had to reset. I win the PGA Championship, but the year’s not over. For me, it was just about figuring out what I want to do for the rest of the season. I still wanted more but I thought that good play would just kind of lead over and that’s never the case.

“You have to come every week and every week is a new course and you just have to be prepared and that’s what I really didn’t do towards the tail end.”

No exactamente como tenia planeado comenzar esta temporada en el @pgatour. Desafortunadamente acabo de salir positivo al COVID-19 y me estaré perdiendo los próximos dos torneos. Espero poder regresar más fuerte de esto. 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽

— Jhonattan Vegas (@JhonattanVegas) January 13, 2021

Venezuela’s Jhonattan Vegas has withdrawn from the event after testing positive for coronavirus, with Ireland’s Seamus Power set to take his place in the field.

Vegas wrote on Twitter: “Not exactly how I had planned to start this season in the @pgatour. Unfortunately I just tested positive for COVID-19 and will be missing the next two tournaments. I hope I can come back stronger from this.”

Vegas is the second PGA Tour player to withdraw because of a positive test this year after Jim Herman did so before leaving for Hawaii for the Sentry Tournament of Champions.