U.S. Open

Pinehurst Resort & Country Club (Course No. 2)


This crazy Collin Morikawa stat has Tiger Woods feeling particularly old this week

January 23, 2020

Cliff Hawkins

Tiger Woods is getting old. Golf fans know it. Tiger Woods knows it. This is a fact. But it's also a fact that has been put into a new context with one of Woods' playing partners the first two days at the Farmers Insurance Open.

That's because, on the flip side, Collin Morikawa is young. Very, very young. So young, in fact, he represents an age-related first in the career of the 15-time major champ. For the first time, Tiger is teeing it up with someone who was born after he (gulp) turned pro.

On Aug. 28, 1996, Woods had his famous "Hello, World" press conference ahead of the Greater Milwaukee Open. At that point, Morikawa, who was born Feb. 6 the following year, was just a fetus. Fast forward to this week where the 44-year-old Woods will play with the 22-year-old Morikawa (and the 25-year-old Jon Rahm) at Torrey Pines the first two rounds. Here's what Woods told reporters when asked about the age-related stat.

"It means I've been out here a while," the reigning Masters champ said. "That's one of the neat things about this sport, it not just encompasses a few years. In order to be a good player or be considered a good player in football, maybe you can get to a decade of playing in the league. Here, we're measured by decades played, which is very different. Some guys have played, like Arnold and Jack and Gary have been pro for over 50 years. It's a different sport, but it's neat to see the young kids come out. I've only seen Collin hit balls, never got a chance to play with him until this week."

A couple more staggering facts concerning this pairing: Woods won three of his record-tying 82 PGA Tour titles before Morikawa was born. And his landmark 1997 Masters victory came when Morikawa was two months old.

In any event, the longer Woods plays, the more this sort of thing will happen. Let's hope Morikawa is just the first of many.