Collin Morikawa presses a well-thumbed reset button at the Dubai Desert Classic

The World No. 2 has a history of bouncing back from disappointments better than ever before.

There is plenty to admire about Collin Morikawa's emergence at the highest level of world golf.

There's the fact he didn't waste much time winning, his immediate ease in elite company, the speed with which he won a first Major Championship, the rapid accumulation of a second, his willingness to venture across the Atlantic, his supreme ball-striking skills; the way he achieves all this with such a genial nature.

A rather less focused-upon quality, but one which without doubt has been vital for his success, is his ability to rebound set-backs.

Because a cursory glance at his career suggests two and a half years of plain sailing, of a golfer who finds the infuriating business of chasing a ball into holes is as straightforward as a nine-piece jigsaw puzzle.

Reality is rather more interesting: Morikawa has faced difficulties, many of them in fact, and at least one element of his brilliance is the speed with which he first reacts to, and then overcomes, them.

Ahead of this week's Dubai Desert Classic the 24-year-old discussed his T62nd finish at last week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, a result greatly at odds with his position as the highest-ranked player in the field.

"I have a lot to work on," he admitted. "I spent all yesterday afternoon working. It was probably the hardest and longest I've worked in a while pre-tournament on a Monday.

"Sometimes you need to have that kind of reset button, to figure it out and dive deep. My agent and my caddie, we were just literally sitting on the range for hours trying to figure out what to do.

"We know what's not working. It's just trying to get back to my old swing. Still have a couple things I've got to work out, but I'm in a much better position right now versus where I was last week."

Does he have a process to get over a bad week, he was asked.

"You just forget about it," he said. "It's as simple as that really. It's just in my nature. I want to get better. It's just that grind, right?

"When you have a bad week, you show up a week (later) wanting to make sure you don't make the mistakes you did last week.

"It's about remembering things I've done well in the past. Last week happened. I played bad. I learned from it."

That maxim would appear worth remembering because a close look at his career reveals numerous examples of Morikawa playing bad - and then learning from it.

Crumbling when first contending for a title

Set-back? in his third pro start at the 2019 Travelers Championship Morikawa sat tied sixth heading into the weekend, but carded a third round 75 to drop out of the top 50.

Response? A mind-change after he listened to something four-time Major winner Brooks Koepka said: "He said he was now there to win and that when he first turned pro he was there to make cuts. Then he went to top 30s, and top 20s, and top 10s. From that day I just switched to, 'Let's go out and win.'"

What came next? In his next three starts he finished second, fourth and then won his maiden PGA Tour title, the Barracuda Championship.

Missing his first cut

Set-back? A year later Morikawa returned to the Travelers Championship and didn't make the weekend for the first time in his pro career.

Response? He was philosophical: "I looked back on the events I had played when I was an amateur and recalled that I learned more missing a cut in a PGA Tour event than I might have done making a play-off on the Obviously, I don't want to miss more cuts just to learn more, but it got my attention. It let me know what I need to work on."

What came next? He won the Workday Charity Open in his very next start.

A missed tiddler at Colonial in June 2020

Set-back? In the first tournament post-lockdown, Morikawa missed a short putt on the first extra hole to gift the title to Daniel Berger. His putting was widely discussed and uniformly deemed a weakness likely to threaten his winning potential.

Response? "I made adjustments and in the last two days (at the St Jude Invitational) I made huge strides."

What came next? He ranked first for Strokes Gained Putting when winning the PGA Championship, just two months after the wobble in Texas.

Going flat

Set-back? Following the Major breakthrough, Morikawa's consistency slipped. In eight of his next 16 starts he failed to finish inside the top 40.

Response? Candour: "I told my coach the honest truth. I got complacent. I was getting lazy. I was getting a sense of where I didn't want to just be the best every single week."

What came next? He "reset" and won the WGC @ The Concession early in 2021.

A seaside muddle

Set-back? In his linksland debut ahead of the Open the Californian struggled to T71st in the Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club.

Response? Calm assessment: "At the Scottish, I was searching for answers. I felt like I was swinging well, but I knew something was off. We always talk about 'don't blame it on your equipment, don't blame it on this', but I felt that good about my golf game that I knew something with my irons was just off. I made an iron switch and a putter switch."

What came next? He won a second Major and lifted the Claret Jug.


Set-back? Following the second Major win and a medal near-miss at the Olympics Morikawa went four starts at the WGC St Jude, and through the FedExCup playoffs, without one top 20.

Response? Turning a problem on its head: "We've had six majors this season, we had a lot of big tournaments, and everything just didn't line up for me to finish well in the Playoffs. Obviously, I had some issues kind of going into those three weeks, but I think it's just a little more motivation for me coming into this new season."

What came next? Second in his first 2021/22 start, seventh in his second, and victory in the DP World Tour Championship to end the year.

READ MORE: The Farmers Insurance Open: Three vital angles in this week's PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines

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