We got a stark contrast in the mind sets of major champions from last weekend's golf. One major champion knows the meaning of humility, the other needs to learn it.
Most of us would have bet heavily on Lydia Ko returning to winning ways when she held a five-shot lead over Danielle Kang with six holes to play in the Marathon LPGA Classic. We’d still have bet on her to win her first title in two years when she stood on the 17th tee with a one-shot lead.
What happened next isn’t hard to explain. It’s called golf.
Ko made a double bogey and lost by a shot. Did the New Zealander sulk away angrily like Colin Montgomerie, or cry into her caddie’s arms? No. She fronted up and acted like a true champion. In response to a question from former Golfweek colleague Beth Ann Nichols, Ko said:
“I think there are so many positives from the week, and I feel overall like more confident in my game. I think that’s really the goal I had coming into this stretch after quarantine.
“Obviously, I would’ve loved to be the one holding the trophy, but I think if somebody said, ‘Hey, you’re going to be second at Marathon coming into the stretch' I would’ve been, 'OK, cool.’ I would take that.”
Contrast Ko’s behaviour with Brooks Koepka's before the final round of the PGA Championship. The defending champion couldn’t help but take a wee dig at Ryder Cup teammate Dustin Johnson. Instead of talking up the possibility of Johnson winning his second major, Koepka said:
“I like my chances. When I’ve been in this position before, I’ve capitalised. I don't know, he's (Johnson) won only one.”
Well done Rory McIlroy for putting Koepka in his place. Rory said:
“Sort of hard to knock a guy (Johnson) that’s got 21 wins on the PGA Tour, which is three times what Brooks has.”
It was almost poetic justice that Koepka didn’t capitalise. He shot a final round 74. Maybe he’ll think twice in future about talking down a fellow pro.
If you’re looking for a major champion to give you a definition of “humility”, ask Ko, not Koepka.
Maybe Brooks needs to get himself a dictionary.
I know which one I’m rooting for to win another major.
Morikawa takes the fast lane
Hard to believe it’s only three years since I watched Collin Morikawa play in the Walker Cup at ultra-snooty Los Angeles Country Club. He was one of three players on that team along with Doug Ghim and Maverick McNealy to win four points out of three, the first time in Walker Cup history three players emerged with perfect 4-0 records.
It was obvious then Morikawa was a talent, but no way could anyone have predicted he’d win a major so quickly. And he’s not done.
“I feel very comfortable in this spot,” Morikawa said. “When I woke up on Sunday, I was like: ‘This is meant to be.’ This is where I feel very comfortable. This is where I want to be and I’m not scared by it. I think if I was scared from it, the last few holes would have been a little different but you want to be in this position.”
He certainly didn’t look scared. Anything but.
“It doesn’t stop here. I’ve got a very good taste of what this is like, what a major championship is like. … This is where I want to be. I love it.
“I’m trying to win every single week. I’m not trying to come out and just win the majors.”
As I’ve said many times, nothing is guaranteed in this crazy game, but it’s hard to see Morikawa not adding to his major tally. Sooner rather than later.
Justin needs to jump on the f–bombs
I’m no shrinking violet when it comes to uttering a few profanities on the golf course. I do try, but sometimes this stupid game makes cry babies and f–bombers out of all of us.
Look at Justin Thomas. He seems to be making it a habit. He was caught twice on TV during the PGA Championship using the F word. He needs to jump on that. The former world number one is in the spotlight. I’m just playing with a few mates who also utter the odd expletive.
To be fair, Thomas did the right thing afterwards.
“I did not know that was on TV, so I apologise to anybody that heard it, or everybody that heard it.”
Thing is, when you have as high a profile as Thomas, then you’re going to be on TV a lot. It’s hard to imagine Arnold Palmer f–bombing his way around the golf course.
Maybe Justin needs to look up “humility” too.
JustSaying: “The only way of really finding out a man’s true character is to play golf with him. In no other walk of life does the cloven hoof so quickly display itself.” P.G. Woodhouse