Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffele coming off injuries in Hawaii

Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffele coming off injuries in Hawaii

The PGA Tour’s two Las Vegas standouts left Maui injured in the season-opening Tournament of Champions. Doctors may be able to help Xander Schauffele with his problem, but only Collin Morikawa can provide healing for his trauma.

Schauffele withdrew from the tournament midway through the second round with back pain, the first time in his PGA Tour career that a WD appears next to his name. Morikawa, on the other hand, leaves Hawaii surrounded by demons and scar tissue after clinching a tournament record for the largest lead in the final round of a tournament.

“Sadness. I don’t know. It’s disgusting,” Morikawa said of his feelings after losing to Jon Rahm despite starting Sunday with a six-shot lead, one that reached seven shots midway through the round.

“You work so hard and you give yourself these opportunities and just one bad moment for bad shots and they add up real quick. I don’t know what I’ll learn from this week, but it just didn’t seem like it was that far off. It really wasn’t. Yes, it’s bad.”

Morikawa was brilliant for 3 1/2 rounds, playing his first 67 holes without a bogey. Then came one at number 14. And another at 15. And another at 16. They were all ugly and hard to look at. And that once great bullet was gone.

True, Rahm was running around the Plantation course at Kapalua with nine birdies and an eagle, but he was tied for second nine shots behind.

“(Rahm) definitely made birdies when he needed to, but I also made bogeys,” Morikawa said. “When you’re getting bogeys at that time of the tournament, they’re costly. I certainly felt the weight of that.”

The fall brought back thoughts of the World Hero Challenge in December 2021, when Morikawa, nine holes away from victory and a move to No. 1 in the world rankings, had a similar outburst. The two-time major champion has not won since, and he finished 2022 outside the world’s top 10 for the first time since his victory at the PGA Championship in August 2020.

While Morikawa will have three weeks to think about what happened before playing again at Torrey Pines, Schauffele hopes to be ready for a busy West Coast swing, starting next week in La Quinta, California.

Schauffele’s back buckled and caused Kapalua considerable pain. The same thing happened at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas in December, but Schauffele felt fine in the weeks that followed and never sought medical advice about what might be wrong.

“I’ve never had any kind of problem,” he said. “It’s just not getting better. I actually feel worse when I swing.”

But unlike in the Bahamas where his back improved as the week went on, Schauffele wasn’t getting better as the Champions Tour progressed. It took a stern talking to from caddy Austin Kaiser to stop him from continuing to play.

“Austin told me on the 9th, he’s like, ‘You know, we’ve got a lot of tournaments coming up swinging on the West Coast, and that’s a big swing for us.’ And he’s like, ‘You know, are you going to look back and you’re going to be really proud of yourself because you wanted to stick it out and maybe hurt yourself more, or do we have to back off and be smart here because we’ve got, you know, a long way to go?’ “

So Schauffele left Maui for Las Vegas and a scan.

“I’m 29. I need to maintain my health,” he said. “I feel like I’ve done a really good job up to this point, and the fact that I can’t pinpoint what it is is a little disappointing. So once I get the scan and I look at it and all the professionals look at it and then if they tell me I’m fine then I think I’ll start to feel better and I’ll stop shaking at what I’m doing. “

Greg Robertson covers golf for the Journal. Contact him at [email protected].

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *