The WGC – Dell Technologies Match Play: Sad Collin Morikawa looking to improve on his 2021 showing

The two-time Major Champion failed to get a win in his three matches 12 months ago.

In striking contrast to his introduction to elite-level stroke play golf, Collin Morikawa's match play bow last year was a genuine disappointment.

Ahead of this year's tournament the man himself described his emotions leaving Austin Country Club 12 months ago as: "Sad."

He tied JT Poston in his first match, but defeats at the hands of Max Homa and the eventual champion Billy Horschel left him bottom of his first round group and out of the competition.

"Yeah, it was pretty sad," he repeated. "I felt like I was playing pretty well. The practice rounds were good and then I went 0-2-1.

"It's defeating, but it happens. That's what match play is, right? You have to be prepared to beat your guy every single day and I just was making way too many mistakes. In match play you just can't do that.

"That's the biggest thing I learned last year. I was three-putting, I was making stupid bogeys, I was putting myself in bad positions when I might have been in the middle of the fairway.

"When you force issues, it's risk-reward. Sometimes you get away with it and sometimes you don't. I just compounded the mistakes and that's what you can't do.

"It might be frustrating here or there but, at the end of the day, you just have to beat your group. Get out of there and then beat everyone else. That's all you can focus on really."

This year he will face Texas expert Jason Kokrak (who has won both his last two starts in the state), match play star Sergio Garcia (12-7-1 at the course) and young Scottish tyro Robert MacIntyre.

Morikawa may have had his initial difficulties with the head-to-head format, but he hasn't changed his mind about it.

"I love it," he said. "Anytime you get to play match play, it's a whole different mindset on how you go into the week. I've had two days of prep, but all I need to worry about is who I'm going to be playing that day and trying to beat them hole by hole.

"It's a fun format, and I'm glad to be back, and hopefully we can make it a great week."

He also insists he likes the host course.

"Haven't played it this year yet, but last year I thought it was a great course," he said.

"As a match play course, I think it's pretty good because there's a lot of things you can do.

"There's a drive-able par-4, some risk-reward holes, and there's a lot of places out here where you can put yourself in trouble, (others where) you can get some momentum and make a birdie out there.

"There's a lot of ups and a lot of downs, and hopefully you just get off to a good start and start your matches off pretty well."

Morikawa on his Masters prep

"You want your game to be as good as possible for the first major of the year. I feel like my golf game is there. I just need to be mentally making sure I go through every process when I'm out there. At a course like Augusta, I can't be short sided, down a slope, in a bunker, whatever it may be.

"The first two years when I was there, I tried playing a draw type golf game, and obviously that's not me. And everyone says you have to play a draw there and you don't. I will 100% believe for the rest of my career that you don't have to play a draw on every hole.

"There are some holes where you absolutely have to hit a draw or have to hook the ball, but there are holes out there where there's a straight fairway. I was trying to hit a super neutral or almost a slight draw when there was no need to. I could aim left and play my cut.

"It forced me to hit these shots that I wasn't comfortable with and I didn't know my misses. It just made golf harder to play. I've got to stick to my strengths of what I can do. There are guys that have hit cuts there that have won, so it's possible."

READ MORE: The WGC - Dell Technologies Match Play: Five Europeans who can make an impact at Austin Country Club

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