'Why Fight It?' Confused Morikawa Learning To 'Trust' New Shot Shape

Life without his reliable fade is "really hard", says Morikawa, but he's getting there

Collin Morikawa hitting an iron shot during the first round of the 2022 US Open
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sometimes the best players in the world find this game just a baffling as we do. That's certainly been the case for Collin Morikawa, whose usually reliable fade has somehow vanished into thin air.

In its place, a draw, the kind of which the 25-year-old says he hasn't played "since maybe freshman year of college." While many recreational golfers would give anything to be blighted by such a problem, Morikawa admits it is "really hard" to trust the new shot shape. 

"I played a lot of golf last week and a lot of holes to try to be able to trust it" he said, after positing a one-under 69 to kickstart his US Open challenge. "I haven't played a draw since maybe freshman year of college. Definitely in high school. It's different. It's not the same trust, but this week I have to trust it. That's the only way I'm going to hit shots."

Since turning pro in 2019, Morikawa has made a name for himself as one of the game's elite ball-strikers, regularly topping the tee-to-green stats. It's for that reason he ascended the world rankings so quickly, picking up five PGA Tour wins and two Majors on his debut appearances.

However, all that was done shaping the ball left-to-right. It's little wonder, then, that he was so reluctant to accept what was happening in front of his eyes. 

"I was still trying to figure out the cut last Thursday," Morikawa added. "I mean, it was there for like three holes, and then it would disappear for three. I hit a point Thursday afternoon where I said, 'This is stupid. Why try and fight it?' 

"I can still hit the golf ball. It's not like I'm not hitting it to where I want. Everything matched up, and it's just because I haven't played a draw in such a long time that you do have to think about the shot a little bit more. You have to be a little bit more clear. 

"That's why I have [caddie] J.J. That's why I have [coach] Rick here. When we're on the course, just to really talk through things and make sure I'm making the right decision on how I'm going to play the shot.

"[Today] I pretty much only played a draw. That was kind of the game plan. Didn't really have to hit too many cuts. When I did, I didn't really pull them off. Just knowing and thinking about how to play a shot like that versus normally aiming out left and bringing it back to the hole."

There's a lesson in there for us all: play with what you've got. If one of the best golfers on the planet can't figure out how or why he's hitting the ball a certain way, it's a fool's errand for the rest of us to believe we can.

A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform producing football reports, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1. However, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing and now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.

Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.

As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.

What's in Andy's bag?

Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)

3-wood: TaylorMade M1 (15°)

Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)

Irons: Callaway Apex Pro '19 (4-PW)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)

Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2.5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1