23 year old Collin Morikawa won the 2020 PGA Championship on August 9, 2020, joining Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Jack Nicholas as one of the youngest ever winners of the tournament. While I am not a fan of golf, his win caught my interest for a number of reasons.
First, he just graduated last year from UC Berkeley with a degree in business. Some pride that he is a fellow Cal Bear, but I also thought it was fitting that he would win his first PGA major at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, in what could be considered his own backyard on a course he played many times. I was also surprised to where Harding Park is located – I must have driven past it dozens of time but never realized that such high level tournaments would be played there.
Second, as is revealed in the video below, he was coached in golf at a high level since age 6. This is a continuing trend since Tiger Woods was a child, getting kids to concentrate in a sport at a very young age. I see have seen this in basketball and other sports and wrote about how it happens with golf and other sports. I glad it has worked it out for Collin, but I have seen some kids get extremely messed up by that kind of pressure. His girlfriend, Katherine Zhu (also shown in the video below) is an excellent golfer (All American D1) who also started young, winning her first tournament at 13. Collin talks in the video about having a lot of fun playing as a kid – that is a key aspect of youth sports that is too often forgotten.
Finally, I am intrigued by what could be the emergence of a major Asian American sports star. He grew up in the heavily Asian American San Gabriel Valley and has an Asian Canadian girlfriend too. He seems composed and well-spoken in his interviews and has become popular enough to the point where Steph Curry joined a media session to ask him questions yet confident enough to tell Curry that he was NOT a fan. I wish him continued success.