Maybe you heard this on the telecast, but it was a pressure-packed Sunday at the 2021 Open Championship. On a beautiful day at Royal St. George’s, Collin Morikawa came from two shots behind to win the second major championship of his career.
By the time the last groups made the turn on Sunday at the Open Championship, all eyes were on Collin Morikawa and Jordan Spieth. The two players have a great deal in common. They are young (24 and 27, respectively) but often described as mature beyond their years. They are clean-cut, gracious, and well-spoken—as popular with fans and reporters as they are with corporate sponsors. And they justify their popularity with fantastic golf.
But Morikawa and Spieth ply their trades very differently. Morikawa’s tee-to-green game is a model of consistency. When he putts well, he wins, and it all seems easy. With Spieth, nothing seems easy. He misses two-footers, leaves mid-irons 20 yards short, and chatters to himself anxiously, yet somehow posts score after score in the 60s.
At Royal St. George’s yesterday, steady precision won out. When Collin Morikawa had an approach from the fairway, you knew it was going to end up hole-high. He was also outstanding on the greens, not three-putting once all tournament. And while his lengthy birdie putt on 14 and ice-cold par save on 15 were the defining moments of his back nine on Sunday, his general unflappability was most impressive. Morikawa never seemed cowed by the moment, even though this was his Open debut. He’s now a two-time major champion, and his early-career record stacks up well against pretty much anyone’s.
It’s harder to say what this weekend meant for Jordan Spieth. His total game is more stable than it has been since he last won a major in 2017. He has improved markedly off the tee, where he is now comfortable working it both ways. But as he acknowledged in his post-round interview on Sunday, he has “a lot of scar tissue.” His previous disappointments on big stages and his recent seasons in the wilderness weigh heavily on him. So while Spieth may win more majors, he probably won’t make it look as simple as the new Champion Golfer of the Year did yesterday.
The path to consistency
Collin Morikawa replaced a few clubs early in the week to account for the firm turf conditions in England. To dial in his new specs, he surely relied on a launch monitor. Did you know that you, too, could tie up the loose ends of your game with a launch monitor of your own?
Rapsodo’s Mobile Launch Monitor, or MLM as the cool kids call it, provides instant feedback and data you can use to optimize your practice sessions in real time. The Mobile Launch Monitor connects to an app on your smartphone to gather stats and video, and it provides shot tracer at the range. It’s available at a fraction of the price of most launch monitors but is still accurate to within 2% of the pricey versions. The Rapsodo MLM isn’t much bigger than your phone and it can even be used indoors!
A game changer in the launch monitor industry, Rapsodo will help you practice better. Using the code friedegg at checkout, you can save $50 on your purchase of a Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor.
Not to be, again
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times: Louis Oosthuizen once again failed to close out a major win, shooting 71 in the final round of the Open Championship to fall four shots short of Collin Morikawa. He has now gone T-2, 2nd, and T-3 in his last three major starts.
It’s been a great yet incredibly frustrating summer for the South African. On Sunday at Royal St. George’s, he simply didn’t have his best. The calm and consistency Oosthuizen had in his first three rounds gave way to a series of high-right misses, reminding us immediately of his weekend performance at Kiawah. All in all, he will no doubt look back on 2021 as a high-water mark in his career but regret that he wasn’t able to seal the deal at least once.
After shooting a pedestrian 71 to open the event, Jon Rahm recovered with a 66 in the final round and a T-3 in the championship. At times on Sunday, it seemed like he had a chance to join Morikawa and Spieth in the lead group, but he just couldn’t get big putts to fall like he did at Torrey Pines last month. Rahm now has five straight top-eight finishes in majors going back to the 2020 Masters, and he will return to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Wikipedia top 10s of the week: Brooks Koepka (T-6) and Dustin Johnson (T-8). With all due respect to Koepka’s Sunday 65 and DJ’s excellence in every round but the third, neither of these guys truly had a shot. Don’t let the yellow boxes on Wikipedia fool you.
Also recording 65s in their final rounds at Royal St. George’s: Rickie Fowler, Xander Schauffele, and Bryson DeChambeau. A glittery group! All will have something to prove in next year’s majors.
Kevin Kisner, playing by himself in the first “game” of the day, completed his final round in two hours and 30 minutes. He shot 68. Aspirational.
Canadians Mackenzie Hughes (T-6) and Corey Conners (T-15) both finished in the top 20 this week. Hughes’s T-6 is the highest finish of any Canadian in Open history. WAY TO GO CANADA! WOOOOOOO!
The Latest from The Fried Egg
Shotgun Start: A recap of The Open, where Collin Morikawa defeated Pressure
The seventh men’s major championship in less than a year is in the books, and Collin Morikawa bookends his PGA last August with an Open Championship this July. Andy and Brendan react to the final round from Royal St. George’s, praising Morikawa’s absurd start to his pro career at the majors. They discuss the mixture of execution, strategy, and yes, ability to deal with pressure. They also debate whether he’s the world’s best “short golfer.” Jordan Spieth’s close call (although maybe not that close thanks to Collin?) is debriefed, and they debate whether it’s reductive to just point at Saturday night as the difference. Louis is panned, gently. RSG is given a postmortem, with final grades being difficult to deliver due to the lack of wind. There is a qualm with some of the first cut impacts. The back half is a more rapid jaunt on Rahm, Frugal Frittelli, Canadian pride, Brooksy, the iCapital ad, Bobby Mac, Bryson’s humbling, and even Rory. It’s been a fabulous last 12 months at the majors and we are so grateful for your support. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn fired two rounds of 59 in best ball to win the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational on the LPGA Tour. Results
Seamus Power defeated J.T. Poston in a six-hole playoff at the Barbasol Championship. Results
Taylor Moore shot a course-record 60 on Saturday and followed it up with a 65 to win the Memorial Health Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour. With the win, Moore locks up his PGA Tour card for 2021-22. Results
ICYMI: Rose Zhang collected her second USGA championship with a 6&4 victory over Bailey Davis at the U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur.