Morikawa Reveals New Hovland-Inspired Putting Method

The 25-year-old is taking inspiration from the Norwegian as he bids to improve his putting

Collin Morikawa lines up a putt at the 2022 Zurich Classic of New Orleans
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Collin Morikawa is hoping for his second PGA Championship title in three years at Southern Hills this week, and he’s hoping a new putting method, courtesy of his Zurich Classic of New Orleans teammate Viktor Hovland, will help.

Morikawa partnered the Norwegian in last month’s event, which comprised 80 two-man teams. The pair finished in a tie for 29th at TPC Louisiana, with putting one of his issues, and Morikawa was inspired by Hovland to tweak his method – something he’ll take into this week’s second Major of the year.

He said: “So I played with Viktor at Zurich and he uses a line on his ball, and I was just messing - I hit it maybe two or three times during Zurich just to try, because trust me, we couldn't make a putt for our life. I was trying to use a line, and just messed around last couple weeks just seeing if I could use it, if I couldn't use it.”

It appears Morikawa’s experiments weren’t in vain as he intends to use the method in one of the biggest tournaments on the calendar. He continued: “I've never used a line in my life. I just never felt comfortable over it. But I found a way to where I feel like I can stroke the putt. That's what I've been doing over the past couple weeks, and it's felt good. Do I wish I had maybe another event to try it out? Yeah, but we're here. Taking risks.”

If the risk pays off, Morikawa could take some stopping. In the past, putting had been one area where the American had struggled. He ranked number 128 in strokes gained: putting in 2020, the year he won the PGA Championship. Last year, his performance declined, as he dropped to number 178 – and still claimed his second Major by winning The Open.

Ominously for his rivals this week, there’s already been an improvement in Morikawa’s putting figures in 2022. He is up to number 63, with strokes gained reading positive for the first time at +0.218. If adopting Hovland’s method gives him even more improvement, he’ll surely be a force to be reckoned with.

As for Hovland, his putting has also improved over the years, and he currently stands at number 48 on the list, suggesting he could be on to something with the method. Morikawa explained he intends to combine it with his old technique of using feel when putting. He said: “I think putting a line takes out a variable of where I'm aiming. The line at least just tells me and then I can just feel everything else after that.”

The 25-year-old tees it up in a group with Jon Rahm and World No.1 Scottie Scheffler on Thursday. The trio’s first round begins at 1.36pm local time, and 7.36pm BST:

Mike Hall
Mike Hall

Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.