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Collin Morikawa says St Andrews will be a special place to defend Open Championship

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Collin Morikawa says St Andrews will provide a fitting location for his defence of the Open Championship this summer.

American Morikawa secured the Claret Jug in his debut appearance in the tournament at Royal St George’s last summer.

The 25-year-old will return for another shot at glory when he takes part in this summer’s 150th Open at the old course.

The R&A confirmed on Tuesday that the event will attract a record-breaking crowd due to unprecedented demand, with 290,000 spectators to attend between July 10-17.

Morikawa is keen to capture the buzz at the home of golf.

He said: “I can picture the 18th hole, and I can picture the 17th hole pretty well.

“I’ve never been to a golf course or a golf club like that where I think really just the entire town is encompassed around St Andrews.

“The love for the game, the love for the sport, I think kind of breathes and lives through the town.

“I’ve never been in a place like that, and what I think I’m going to look forward to experiencing is just being a part of that town, being there for The Open when everything is about The Open.

Collin Morikawa holds the Wanamaker Trophy after winning the PGA Championship golf tournament at TPC Harding Park, in San Francisco in 2020

“Places we go and play normally, golf is the highlight of that week, but there are also other things going on in some cities that we go to.

“I really look forward to going there in St Andrews and just really embracing and enjoying everything that it has to give for me.”

Morikawa’s triumph last summer saw him become the first player to win two different majors in his debut appearance, having won the PGA Championship at Harding Park in 2020.

Having never played at St Andrews, Morikawa says he will carefully scope out the Fife venue.

Golfers ‘just have to figure it out’

He added: “Coming over for the first time to play my first Open, it was to learn how to play golf out there and learning how to experience what links golf was like.

“Royal St George’s being a little different than some other links style rotations in the Open Championship, you just have to figure it out.

“That’s what we do best, we figure out how we’re going to play these golf courses and what we’re going to do.

“I think I did a pretty good job figuring it out for my first try around.”

Morikawa has confirmed he will also play this summer’s Genesis Scottish Open at Renaissance in the build-up to his defence of the Claret Jug.

The Californian credits his appearance in last year’s event at the same venue as being a key part of his Open success.

He added: “The plan is absolutely to come back and play the Scottish Open. I owe a lot to that tournament for getting me ready and actually making me realise that I needed to change some irons.

“Those two weeks last year my game was in some of the best shape I could have had.

“I came over and played the Scottish and I started hitting iron shots, 9-irons to 45 feet, missing greens, and it was just frustrating.

“I wanted to blame it on my clubs, and rarely that’s the case, but I really did. I stuck with it.

“I made some changes, and when I was at Royal St George’s I made a few changes on the Monday and ended up winning.”

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