Collin Morikawa eyes Race to Dubai win in his first European Tour start

Collin Morikawa, the US PGA champion, is excited about his chance of becoming the first American to win the Race to Dubai despite this week’s DP World Tour Championship being his European Tour debut.

Collin Morikawa during the pro am prior to the start of the DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Collin Morikawa during the pro am prior to the start of the DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

The 23-year-old, who took up affiliate membership of the European circuit in February, sits third in the standings behind compatriot Patrick Reed and Englishman Tommy Fleetwood heading into the season-ending Rolex Series event at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai.

Morikawa, who capped a brilliant start to his professional career with a major victory at Harding Park in San Francisco in August, revealed he would probably have played in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open this year before the world was turned upside down by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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He has only visited Europe twice in his life, on both occasions when he was still an amateur for the Palmer Cup in France and the Eisenhower Trophy in Ireland, but is genuinely enthusiastic about this week’s opportunity.

“I've been looking forward to this trip and, though I didn't really make my decision for a while, it was on my radar and obviously I've put myself in a really good position to close out 2020 on a great note. To be here and make this my first start on the European Tour means a lot,” he said in a video conference this morning.

“I've talked about bringing my game around to the entire world, and what better way to show it, the DP World Tour Championship. All the best players are here throughout 2020 and everyone is here to win.”

Former Masters champion Reed, who has played in a number of regular European Tour events since he became a member, is in the driving seat to top the rankings, but Morikawa has his sights set on leapfrogging the Masters champion.

“There's a lot in between now and Sunday that has to happen, but winning The Race to Dubai would mean a lot because I want my game to travel,” he said. “I want to be a world player.

“I want to be able to bring my game anywhere, adapt to the different places I come to and this is just the first step of doing that.

“I signed up for membership for next year already because I want to play out here. There's a bunch of guys that I've never met.

“I've seen them on TV and I think they are wonderful players and there's a couple guys that I've seen longer than I have on the PGA Tour. I've grown up playing with Sam Horsfield and Sean Crocker my entire life, so it's good to see a couple guys play really well, make it out here.

“We all got here through some different way. I'm very thankful for the path that I've taken so far but this week means a lot. It's a big week. I came here after some good rest after the Masters and really prepped, fresh mind and look forward to the week.”

Morikawa revealed that he will be back in the UAE as early as next month to play in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at Emirates Golf Club.

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