Golf

Back is ‘100 percent healthy’ for Ryder Cup – Morikawa

Hampered by a back injury for some of that time, Morikawa said playing injured was a mistake he'll never repeat again, as it caused him to let bad habits creep into his swing.

Collin Morikawa, one of six Ryder Cup rookies on Team USA this week, went from winning his second major title at The Open Championship in July to having a disappointing showing at the Olympics and in the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

Hampered by a back injury for some of that time, Morikawa said playing injured was a mistake he’ll never repeat again, as it caused him to let bad habits creep into his swing.

But Morikawa, 24, promised on Wednesday that won’t be an issue at Whistling Straits.

“I’m 100 percent healthy,” he said. “Knock on wood right now, but I’m feeling great.”

Morikawa said he hurt his lower back during the first round of the Olympic men’s golf event in Tokyo.

“Yeah, it was just a muscle,” he said. “I tried hitting out of this kind of really sticky rough in Japan, and yeah, I’ve got to get stronger.”

Though half the American team has not competed in a Ryder Cup before, the players aren’t exactly lacking in talent. Morikawa is ranked No. 3 in the world after a stellar “super-season” in which he won the 2020 PGA Championship and July’s Open Championship at Royal St. George’s.

Other Ryder Cup newbies include Patrick Cantlay – No. 4 in the world, the FedEx Cup champion and PGA Tour Player of the Year – and No. 5-ranked Xander Schauffele, a four-time PGA Tour winner.

Many of the younger players on Team USA already had friendly relationships, including Morikawa and Schauffele, both native Californians.

“I was talking with Xander yesterday, and he looked at me, and he’s like, ‘You’re back,’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m back,'” Morikawa said. “The cuts are back, and it’s a good time to have that shot.”

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