Collin Morikawa refusing to 'dwell on the past' as he sets sights on Open defence

Collin Morikawa had to hand back the Claret Jug this week, and he knows he can no longer 'dwell' on last year's Open triumph.

Collin Morikawa heads into the Open knowing he cannot 'dwell on the past' if he wants to successfully defend the Claret Jug.

Morikawa was triumphant in the competition last year as he won his second career major.

He had to surrender the Claret Jug back to the R&A clubhouse at St Andrews this week ahead of his title defence and, although he gets to keep a replica, the whole thing has made the fact he now has to win it all over again really sink in.

"It sucked. It really did," Morikawa said. "I woke up this morning and looked at it. The replica is beautiful, but it's not the same. It really isn't. It will never be.

"But I don't want to dwell on the past. I think I've talked about that early on in my career. I always look forward to what's next. Maybe hopefully just giving it back kind of frees me up and allows me just to focus on winning this week.

"I am looking for something. We're at the end of our season. We're at the fourth major. Play-offs are coming up pretty soon. I want to give it a run.

"I really haven't been in contention at all this year in any tournament, and it sucks because I love being in those spots. I love coming down the stretch and knowing that you've got to make some great shots, make some birdies, and close it out, and I just haven't put myself in that position.

"I've had a couple of second-place finishes, and they've kind of been come-from-behind second-place finishes where I played really well on the final day.

"But I need to do a better job Thursday through Saturday to give myself a shot at trying to close out a tournament."

Morikawa freely admits he is more interested in creating history than remembering it and was given a helpful lesson on the origins of the Open Championship by former champion Sandy Lyle during a practice round ahead of this year's Masters.

But the 25-year-old from Los Angeles appears to have become instantly enamoured with the Old Course after getting his first experience of the venue at the weekend following a missed cut in the Genesis Scottish Open.

"I love it. I can see why guys love it," he said. "I can see how special this week can be. I can see how the course can play a million different ways, depending on the weather.

"Now that I know what it's like to have the Claret Jug for a year, there's nothing like it. It's a really special year. Even though you won that tournament a year ago, it's going to be in your history for the rest of your life. And it's pretty cool.

"I think trying to defend this week at The 150th at St Andrews would be even more special.

"You've got to embrace the history. You have to embrace everything that has happened before us. But I'm here to win a tournament. I'm here to play some really good golf.

"Even though my week is filled with the couple extra media obligations and a couple other appearances doesn't mean by Thursday morning I'll not be ready."

READ MORE: The 150th Open at St Andrews: The 10 greatest championship moments on The Old Course

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