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May 17, 2024

Collin Morikawa

Louisville, Kentucky, USA

Valhalla Golf Club

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Collin Morikawa is with us at the 106th PGA Championship. You picked up where you left off yesterday. Can you tell us what went well out there for you?

COLLIN MORIKAWA: Just kept it in front of myself, and look, I've been putting great so far since Augusta, so it's nice to just kind of keep that trend going, and was able to hit a few good close shots, few wedge shots, take advantage of the short holes, the par-5s and for the most part didn't really make any big errors, other than the last hole, just that approach shot.

Q. You won two majors quickly in your career. I'm just wondering, other than golf swing at that time, what do you feel like helped propel you to win those?

COLLIN MORIKAWA: Just belief. I had belief since day one that I was going to be able to do it, and obviously you want to see the results, but just believing that it's possible and just knowing that it's going to happen.

I talked before I won ZOZO last year, I talked about I know I'm going to win again, it's just a matter of when, is it going to be tomorrow, is it going to be -- but it's going to happen.

I know I still have it in me, and that's what's exciting is that, after Augusta, it sucked to finish like that and it sucked to lose to Scottie, but at the end of the day, I knew I had three more majors coming up and to prep for that and get things as sharp as possible and just come out strong. It's obviously nice to get off to this start.

Q. With the way the Masters went and now starting well, does it feel like a similar sense of belief?

COLLIN MORIKAWA: Yeah, I mean, I think at the end of the day, no one can tell me how good or bad I'm going to play. It's just knowing what's inside my head in between the ears, just saying, okay, we're going to go do it. It doesn't matter if it feels good or not. Today the range session wasn't good and probably stayed out there a few more minutes before my tee time, and you figure it out. That's what I've learned. You figure it out with what you have and play golf.

Q. Once the rain subsided, did it feel like a green-light day out there? Secondly, can you take us inside that heater you caught on that front nine?

COLLIN MORIKAWA: It still felt like -- the rain felt like it was going on all the way until our fifth, sixth, seventh hole, and it sucks because it seems like it's going to be pretty nice for these afternoon guys to take advantage of that.

Look, the little five-run birdie was me just playing solid golf, and sometimes when the putts drop, that's what happened. But for the most part, that's the kind of golf I'm going to ask for myself over the next two days and 36 holes is just stay present, hit your shots, execute them, and if the putts drop, the putts drop. But really not force anything. I wasn't forcing anything out there, especially throughout all of today.

Q. What was your experience getting to the golf course this morning? Did you encounter delays, difficulties? What was the conversation in the clubhouse?

COLLIN MORIKAWA: I think I snuck my way in pretty quickly. I didn't have a delay -- I think I was probably one of the last few players to get in without any chaos. Kind of talked my way through.

But yeah, first off, it's unfortunate for the person that did pass away earlier today. I don't think that's getting talked about enough, or at all. My wishes and prayers are within that family's blessings.

But look, it was a little chaotic. I woke up at 5:00 today, and I'll be honest, I was a little tired. As the day, morning tee times, you slowly wake up. But you had that jolt of energy as a lot of things were bouncing back and forth. By the time I went into the workout trailer, I knew I had to focus and not worry about anyone else.

It's very hard to do that when things are going around you, and trust me, a lot of things happen sometimes and people don't know about it, but I have a job to do this week, and decent position through 36, no matter how things play out today.

Q. How did you replenish your confidence level after a stretch where you were struggling earlier this year?

COLLIN MORIKAWA: Yeah, I mean, it was a pretty flat start of the year. For me, the confidence doesn't go away. I think the confidence is always there. Even when I wasn't playing well, I still felt like when I teed it up on that first hole, like I can go out and shoot 65.

Sometimes you learn the lesson really quick and you run into a brick wall, and you realize that day is not going to be that day. But the confidence is always there, it's just a matter of seeing -- if I can go on the range and see eight shots in a row or five shots in a row that are all the same and exactly what I want, the confidence is even more. That just gives you the trust. It's not confidence is up, but the trust is there. So the confidence never went away, it's just being able to trust the golf swing and free it up from there.

Q. What was wrong with the range session today?

COLLIN MORIKAWA: I just was kind of coming out of it and the drives were missing a little right. I saw it on the first tee shot on 10 today, and really the first one I had to hit well was 15, and just kind of tweaked a little something in the setup, and it worked for the most part.

Q. Getting back with your coach recently, did that have any impact on your recent play, coincidence, and maybe just a little bit on how that came to be that you got back?

COLLIN MORIKAWA: Yeah, I ended up with Mark Blackburn about a week before San Antonio, and that's when I kind of started talking to Rick, just to reach out as a friend, to be honest, not even for the golf swing, just more to talk. Sometimes you need that. Sometimes you need someone to just talk it through and get back to playing golf.

We've always been the kind of player-coach where it's just more about going out and having fun -- not having fun, but just being creative and hitting shots. That's what we've kind of gone back to.

Just keeping things simple right now and just being able to see our shots, visualize them, things that I've done in the past. Not really trying to reinvent the wheel right now.

Q. It's not unusual for players to make changes like this, but do you regret doing it in the first place, or is it better to have done it?

COLLIN MORIKAWA: No, I don't regret it at all. Look, at the time, let's call it last fall, I thought I had to, and to be honest, if I did it again, I probably would do it again because I thought we had exhausted all of our resources and all the things we tried and nothing was working. So I couldn't get that shot what I wanted. So what do you do? You change. If I kept going down that path, who knows where I'd be.

So I'm happy that I went out a different way, but you also learn about yourself and you learn about what kind of golfer you are and what you need. It took that little span of so many months, and here we are today.

Q. With the rain this morning and whatnot, was there ever a point that you thought you guys might play lift and clean out there?

COLLIN MORIKAWA: No, I think with Zoysia fairways and just knowing the conditions out here, I think they were going to be able to cut it at least, and everything is fairly tight out here. I think with the way the grass is out here, I wasn't expecting it. It's nice if we do, but to be honest, I think through 36 I've had one really, really bad one, and that was yesterday. Maybe I got lucky today, but for the most part, it's not awful.

Q. You mentioned putting well since the Masters. Do you think it's as simple as changing that putter between rounds?

COLLIN MORIKAWA: A little bit. I mean, look, this is the same putter I've used the past year and a half now. Made a slight grip adjustment with my left hand. Just kind of made it a little bit stronger. That's something that I've always worked on because just how I grip the club naturally is a fairly weak left-hand grip. So just being able to grip it a little stronger, just a little more neutral essentially I think has brought all the pieces in together and just been able to stay within myself.

Q. You'd been on that heater. Take us through the last hole, and you came up short on the second shot.

COLLIN MORIKAWA: I just chunked an 8-iron. I hit a couple chunky and I got away with it. That one I did not.

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