Different Strokes: Morikawa heads to Middle East after finding his groove in Hawaii

Philip Reid with his weekly look around the world of golf

Maybe a case of later rather than sooner after all in Collin Morikawa's bid to leapfrog Jon Rahm at the head of the world rankings, with the American's streak as global number two extended into a fourth week and a wider gap developing to the Spaniard.

Morikawa’s fifth-place finish in the Sentry Tournament of Champions was his fifth straight top-10 finish going back to the CJ Cup last October but he will be switching his attentions in the immediate future back to the DP World Tour (the European Tour as was) in the upcoming weeks, playing in next week’s Abu Dhabi Championship and the following week’s Dubai Desert Classic.

Having enjoyed a four-week winter break, Morikawa felt his competitive edge return through each round of the no-cut event in Kapalua.

“I didn’t really know exactly how the game was going to play out, kind of just chugging along, one foot in front of the other the first few days . . . I think they’re things that I was doing that I had to realise through a couple of rounds versus towards the end of last season, when it was just natural and things are pretty easy, easy things for me to remember. That’s what happens in the off-season, you sometimes forget a couple of things. I’ll be just fine.”


Cam’s mam set for new wheels

It ain’t all about the money, at least not in Cameron Smith’s world . . . and the 28-year-old Aussie, whose latest success in the Sentry Tournament of Champions brought his career prizemoney on the PGA Tour to $19.18 million, might contemplate splashing out on a new car.

Not for himself, but for his mother.

“I’m quite content with where I’m at,” admitted Smith of not needing to immediately add any luxury items to his list. “I know mom’s car is probably getting four or five years old, so maybe a new car for mom.”

By the Numbers: 10,000,000

That's the amount – in US dollars – that this year's US Women's Open will offer as prizemoney, nearly a doubling of the purse that was available last year when Yuka Saso triumphed.

The increased prizemoney to $10 million, with ProMedica coming on board as presenting partner in a new departure, is part of the USGA’s plan to increase the purse to $12 million over the next five years.

This year's US Women's Open takes place at Pine Needles in North Carolina, with Leona Maguire already qualified to play; while future sites include Pebble Beach (2023), Lancaster CC (2024), Erin Hills (2025), Riviera (2026), Inverness CC (2027), Oakmont (2028) and Interlachen (2030).

Word of Mouth

"I still can improve quite a bit, but it's moving an trending in the right direction, so I'm happy with that" – world number one Jon Rahm on his quest to get even better. The Spaniard was 33 under par for the four rounds of the Champion of Champions in Kapalua and still finished second best to Cam Smith but went away with the aim to "give myself a lot more chances to win" through the season.

On this day: January 11th, 2009

Geoff Ogilvy dominated the Mercedes Championship from start-to-finish but did have to endure a final-round wobble before finally getting over the line at Kapaula, where rounds of 67-68-65-68 gave him a total of 24-under-par 268 for a six-stroke winning margin over Davis Love III and Anthony Kim.

The Aussie brought a six shot 54-hole lead into the last day but saw that margin reduced to one stroke at one stage after he bogeyed four of his first eight holes. However, a 20-foot eagle putt on the ninth galvanised him and he ultimately drew clear of his pursuers to land a $1.1 million payday and the fifth title of his PGA Tour career.

“I’ve been traditionally a horrible starter on the west coast and last year I missed my first three cuts, so to win the first week [out] is really, really nice . . . I had never had a six-shot lead before and that’s quite an uncomfortable feeling really. It was tricky on the front nine and I wasn’t playing horribly, I just had a couple of loose shots and a couple of putts that didn’t go in.”

Twitter Twaddle

Congratulations Cameron Smith on a great win and the other guys @PGATour for breaking the scoring record. It was about time – Ernie Els on finally seeing somebody break his long-time low 72 holes sub-par record score, which had stood since the 2003 Mercedes Championship.

Can someone go and check on @IanJamesPoulter – No birthday sentiments to the newly 46-year-old Poults, just Ian Westwood having a playful poke at his pal Ian Poulter after Nottingham Forest's FA Cup win over Arsenal.

Things you love to see . . . BIG day for women’s golf #driveon – Leona Maguire greeting the news that the US Women’s Open prizefund for 2022 had been almost doubled to $10 million for the championship at Pine Needles in North Carolina this June.

In the Bag: Cam Smith – Sentry Champion of Champions

Driver: Titleist TSi3 (10 degrees)
3-wood: Titleist TSi2 (15 degrees)
5-wood: Titleist TS2 (21 degrees)
Irons: Titleist T100 Black (4-9)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM9 (46, 52, 56 and 60 degrees)
Putter: Scotty Cameron 009 Prototype

Know the Rules

Player A plays her second shot, searches for her ball briefly in the greenside rough down the right and then goes back to the fairway and drops another ball under penalty of stroke and distance. She is about to play what would be her fourth shot when her original ball is then found within the three minutes of when she originally started searching for it, and before she played the dropped ball. What is the ruling?

Player A must continue with the dropped ball. Once the player put another ball in play under penalty of stroke and distance, the original ball is no longer in play and must not be played (Rule 18.1).