Open champion Collin Morikawa joins an illustrious list of Americans to be awarded Life Membership of the European Tour just two-and-a-half years after turning professional.
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 17/11/21 10:30am
Collin Morikawa has been awarded Honorary Life Membership of the European Tour ahead of this week’s season finale in Dubai.
Morikawa received the accolade in recognition of his memorable victory at The 149th Open at Royal St Georges in July, a final-round 66 earning him a two-shot win over Jordan Spieth on his debut in the Championship.
The 24-year-old has now won two of his eight appearances in a major, and he becomes only the fifth American to be given life membership of the European Tour after Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus and Patrick Reed.
“It’s a very strong list,” said Morikawa ahead of this week’s DP World Tour Championship. “And when you’re a part of that group and you’re able to make history as the first American, hopefully that sets the stage to see this is a growing game around the world.
“Two and a half years ago when I turned pro, I had no clue what life was going to put in front of me, but I’m very thankful for what I’ve been able to accomplish. Obviously the world has gone through many changes, but this means a lot and I have to say thanks to the European Tour.
“We have personal goals trying to win tournaments, but it’s how do you leave a legacy and impacting the game for the future.
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“We want to grow the game as much as we can, and this is an important piece of that. So I’m going to honour this and this is going to be very special and it is definitely a top highlight so far since turning pro, so thank you.”
European Tour chief executive, Keith Pelley, added: “On behalf of everyone on the Tour, I would like to officially welcome Collin into an illustrious group of players to receive Honorary Life Membership of the European Tour.
“Collin is an incredible talent and he has already accomplished so much in the game at such a young age. To win the Open Championship at the first attempt is a special achievement and he now has the opportunity to secure another piece of history this week by becoming the first American winner of the Race to Dubai.
“I know how much Collin enjoys competing on the European Tour and we were all very proud to see one of our members lift the Claret Jug in front of so many fans at Sandwich this summer.”
Morikawa leads the Race to Dubai standings going into the final event of the season at Jumeirah Golf Estates, but he is taking nothing for granted as he bids for another historic achievement.
“I’ve learned lessons through golf and through the world that’s personal to me and that’s going to stay in my head but, when it comes to trying to win a Tour Championship, win the Race to Dubai, a lot has to go into it,” he said.
“I’m not taking this week lightly. I’ve put a lot of work in the last week, the past couple of days to be ready and to come out here and play as best as I can.”
Morikawa is also motivated by his FedExCup disappointment earlier this year, leading the standings at the end of the regular season before a back injury contributed to poor performances in the Playoffs as he finished tied for 26th.
“Yes, we’re at the tail end of the season and I made that mistake with the PGA Tour and the FedExCup, went injuring myself and getting a little unfortunate the way the playoffs worked,” he added. “I worked so hard through the regular season to put myself in a good spot that I don’t want to let this go.
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“I think I said this last year, you don’t know how many chances you’re going to get to win a Race to Dubai and I’ve been very lucky to play well this year in a major and the WGC to get me in that position. But I want to come out here and win. If I win, it takes care of everything.
“At the end of the day, I’m still playing four rounds. And yes, it is a season long race but this tournament means a lot to me too. I want to come out here and I wouldn’t show up if I didn’t think I could win.
“So I’m sure there’s a lot of scenarios out there but if I start worrying about them, they might come true, I could be on the bad end of that.”