And now he’s in Japan for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as a part of a four-man Team USA delegation, seeking to win the nation’s first ever Olympic gold medal in males’s single golf.
After ending within the high 15 of the Olympic Golf Ranking on the shut of the qualification interval, Morikawa joined Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele and Bryson DeChambeau in receiving the dignity of representing the US on the Summer Games.
Unfortunately for 2020 US Open winner DeChambeau, he has been pressured to withdraw after testing optimistic for Covid-19. He has since been changed by 2018 Masters winner Patrick Reed.
Just over two years in the past, Morikawa was ranked 1,039th on the planet having completed tied for 14th on the RBC Canadian Open in June 2019. Now, he’s a two-time main winner heading to the Olympics.
And he says he is able to soak every part up whereas in Japan.
“(His excitement) is through the roof to really think about where I was two years ago as an amateur and where I am now in the world, everything I’ve done so far,” he informed CNN Living Golf’s Shane O’Donoghue.
“It’s crazy to think that I have this opportunity, but it’s something that I’m never going to take for granted. No one’s going to be able to take it away from me and to be representing Team USA, it’s one of the biggest honors really.”
Playing for his nation
While Morikawa is making his first look for Team USA, it’s not his first time enjoying as a part of a crew in a golf match.
During his beginner profession, the 24-year-old participated in crew codecs on the Arnold Palmer Cup, the Walker Cup and the Eisenhower Trophy.
But competing on the Olympics as a part of Team USA goes to “top all of that by a million times” due to the Games’ international enchantment, based on the world No. 3.
“For golf, we’re such an individual sport. And even though the Olympics — yeah, we’re playing individually, and we’re making ourselves trying to win gold or whatever. You’re playing for your country and those were the best memories I made as an amateur,” he stated.
“And this is just going to top all of that by a million times because it’s on a professional stage, it’s worldwide. So really anytime you wear USA on your sleeve or your chest or wherever it may be, it’s something that, it’s always going to be with you.”
When the golf competitors kicks off on Thursday, July 29, at Kasumigaseki Country Club, Morikawa shall be suiting up alongside three of the top-12 ranked golfers on the planet.
As nicely as describing having “chills” when pulling on a jersey with the US flag embossed on it, the excessive caliber of the chosen gamers — and the gamers that missed out — showcases the power of American golf in the intervening time.
“I believe it exhibits the power of younger golf and a number of younger gamers proper now. But all of us need to beat up on one another. I believe we attempt to do this. I have never actually talked to them since we have all made the crew, however I do know everybody’s excited to be on that crew.
“You can’t be on the team and not be excited to represent Team USA because I think you ask any player that’s ever represented their country — wherever they’re from — it’s the biggest honor, especially since we play such an individual sport, when we’re able to be on a team, um, it means that much more to us.”
For Morikawa, coming to play in Japan shall be a particular honor given his Japanese heritage.
Although his Japanese family have moved to the US, being half Japanese and having a Japanese surname “definitely resonates with a lot of people” within the nation, says the two-time main winner.
“It’s cool to see people just somehow relate and see me: yes, I’m an American, but yes, I’m an Asian-American. And just see opportunities and hope that people that look like me could have this opportunity to go out and make an Olympic team.”
He recollects first making the journey to Japan along with his household in 2017 when he was in faculty, falling in love with the folks and tradition within the course of.
However, being a self-confessed foodie, it was the delicacies that basically grabbed Morikawa and is likely one of the predominant issues he is wanting ahead to in Tokyo.
“I could eat sushi all day,” he gushed. “When we performed the ZOZO Championship (in October 2020), I bear in mind we have been on this little city across the airport, and I believe each participant went to this one sushi spot in it and arms down, it is most likely one among my favourite locations I’ve ever been to.
“Definitely, something I look forward to,” he added.