NEWS FROM THE TOUR VANS
BROUGHT TO YOU BY GOLF PRIDE, THE #1 GRIP ON TOUR
Collin Morikawa went more than two years between PGA Tour victories, finally ending his drought with a win at the Zozo Championship.
That winless span sneaked up on us given Morikawa’s winning ways early in his career. He made his professional debut in July 2019 and had amassed five victories – including two majors – within two years of his first pro start.
But all professional golfers go through peaks and valleys, especially when it comes to the randomness of winning. Some may be surprised to learn the 2022-23 season has been Morikawa’s best statistical season despite the lack of notable moments. Morikawa is No. 10 in strokes gained overall – a measure of how well one scores against his peers – and his best mark in four full pro seasons.
However, Morikawa’s higher floor came with less volatility, a characteristic that has a lot to do with winning. His putting, which has been below tour average throughout his career, was both mediocre and not as volatile as in previous years. A few of his past wins were largely due to his putter catching fire for a week.
Morikawa has said he wants to take a step in his career where winning is more about consistency and less about timing a hot week with a putter.
To do so, he started working with putting coach Stephen Sweeney at the beginning of 2023. At the time, Morikawa was using a TaylorMade TP Soto putter, equipped with a stout LA Golf 135-gram composite shaft, which is a popular shaft among fellow tour players, including Tom Kim.
Before the summer, Morikawa and Sweeney noticed the lightweight TP Soto blade putter head matched with the heavy graphite shaft could be affecting his feel. Morikawa didn’t want the stiffness of the shaft to change, however, because he liked the consistency it added to his stroke.
They searched for an extra-stiff yet ultra-lightweight putting shaft to better match the putter head. Mitsubishi built Morikawa a one-of-one prototype retaining the same stiffness as the heavier model but reducing the shaft weight to 105 grams.
After months of testing, Morikawa put the new putter in play for the Ryder Cup. While it ended in an American loss, his first stroke-play event was the Zozo Championship, where he finally won again.
Morikawa also had made a few major gear changes during the FedEx Cup playoffs. In response to seeing too much spin with longer clubs, TaylorMade reps encouraged Morikawa to try the TaylorMade TP5x golf ball in combination with lighter shafts.
That change made a big difference. Along with the putter testing, Morikawa has left no stone unturned to become more consistent.
Will it lead to more winning in the future? It will be something to watch.