A year ago, Collin Morikawa was making his third start as a PGA Tour rookie at the Travelers Championship after finishing up his collegiate career at Cal.
He made the cut and finished T-36, the early stages of what became a swift rise into the top 50 in the world, capped by a victory at the Barracuda Championship.
But this week’s return to TPC River Highlands turned out to be the first dud of his career. Morikawa shot a 1-over 71 on Friday and missed the cut for the first time as a professional, ending the Tour’s longest consecutive made-cuts streak at 22.
“It was bound to happen at some point,” Morikawa said. “Now I guess we’re going to stop talking about it and I can go and just go on to next week. I’m going to learn a lot from this week. I learned – I missed the cut as an am at the Safeway Open in 2016, and I learned more in those two days than I did in a lot of my events so far as a pro.”
Morikawa struggle to a 2-over 72 on Thursday, which put his back up against the wall, and a double bogey on No. 12 Friday, his third hole of the day, after being penalized for his tee shot going left was too much to overcome.
Morikawa scratched and clawed his way back with three birdies on Nos. 15, 16 and 2, but bogeys at 7 and 8 sealed his fate.
Morikawa’s performance marked the second-longest streak at the start of his pro career in the last 30 years behind only Tiger Woods, who began his career with 25 consecutive cuts made.
Morikawa assumed the longest current streak when Tommy Fleetwood missed the cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, ending his streak of 33 in a row.
At the time, Morikawa said, “It’s not easy out here, and every week you’ve got to go in, be prepped, you can’t let up. These courses will bite back.”
That finally happened in Hartford. It also served as a reminder that it’s a long, long (did we mention “long” enough?) way to catching the record of 142 straight cuts by Tiger Woods (1998-2005). Morikawa had joked with his caddie J.J. Jacovic about chasing down a record that seems safe for the foreseeable future.
“Me and J.J.,” he said, “we laugh about whatever Tiger’s at, one forty-something. Why not? For me, I just have to keep doing the things I need to do to play my golf, even if it’s a course that doesn’t necessarily fit my eye or my game. It’s what the best players do.”
Morikawa wasn’t the only player whose streak came to end. Matt Fitzpatrick had the second-longest streak heading into the week at 20 events, but packed his bags after rounds of 70-68–138. Others headed home include World No. 3 Justin Thomas and reigning U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland.