Colin Morikawa appoints Stephen Sweeney as first-ever position coach

After the first winless season of his career, Colin Morikawa has added a new member to his team for the first time ever: the throwing coach. The two-time main champ began working with coach Stephen Sweeney at this week’s World Tech Championships in Mayakoba.

Morikawa’s agent, Andrew Keeper, and Sweeney confirmed the move. Keeper also confirmed that the 25-year-old star has not previously worked with a maternity tutor. Irish-born Sweeney is headquartered in Jupiter, Florida. His clients include Shane Lowry, Aaron Wise, Sebastian Munoz, Joaquin Neiman, Carlos Ortiz, and Mito Pereira.

Morikawa’s dissatisfaction with his situation has been evident this year as he has changed rackets several times, most recently in the Presidents Cup. His results have stalled since he won the DP World Championship in Dubai last November. He lost a five-shot lead in the Hero World Challenge two weeks later, and in 20 years later, his best result started as a T-2 at the Genesis Invitational in February. He’s scored four of the top ten since Genesis, including the Masters and US Open, but hasn’t won. It slipped to No. 9 in the official golf rankings from a high on the second in April.

Even while hitting the PGA Tour and racking up big wins, Morikawa’s status stats remained unimpressive. In the three seasons since turning pro, he has ranked 128th, 178th and 131st in Strokes Gained: Putting. With two events this season, he ranked 202, although the Zozo Championship has not collected detailed data. In last month’s CJ Cup, he finished the week at 77th in the 78-man standings.

Flying from the CJ Cup to a commercial shoot for TaylorMade in Florida, Morikawa discussed his situation with Wise and texted Sweeney a few days later. The couple spoke at length last Sunday and met the next day.

“We talked on Sunday to get a feel for the direction and then worked in the dark in Mayakoba on Monday,” Sweeney said. golf week. “We worked the Tuesday before and after his tour and on Wednesday before his pro-his engagement.” They mostly worked on the cruise control, which Morikawa feels has been causing problems for him lately.

Colin Morikawa at the 2022 Tech World Championships at Club de Golf El Camaleon in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. (Photo: Orlando Ramirez/Getty Images)

In the opening round on Thursday, Morikawa shot 71 parallels and followed up with a 63-free bob on Friday. The mode stats compiled for the World Wide Technologies Championship are more rudimentary than those of Strokes Gained, but Morikawa averaged 1.75 points per green in regulation in the first round and 1.563 on the second. In the CJ Cup, he averaged 1,825 points per green in regulation over four rounds.

“We’re not driven by numbers at the moment because we don’t have clear stats. I don’t know how close he is to getting the ball into the hole,” Sweeney said. “But he’s excited about the direction it’s going.”

Since Morikawa had never before had a coach focused on his situation, Sweeney said he never developed any training techniques. “He didn’t have a real structure around his situation,” Sweeney said. “And the feeling he used to win the PGA was very different than what he used to have to win the Open Championship. He was too hot for his situation and wouldn’t know why, and then he wouldn’t know why he had a cold.”

Another Sweeney customer saw this change up close. He faced Pereira Morikawa in a singles match in the Presidents Cup and later told Sweeney that he was amazed at how good his American opponent was. The two were paired again in the final round of the CJ Cup, when the opposite was true. “Same racket, same grip, same guy,” Sweeney said, laughing. “There is no idea why one day is different from the other.”

Sweeney said the goal is to create a baseline for Morikawa to reference when things don’t go well. “That’s something he has in full swing. When he misses a shot right or left, he knows why. He doesn’t have that baseline with his situation. He hopes this structure will help highlight what he insists is a better racket than Morikawa is credited with.”

“He is a good racket because he is a good racket on every kind of grass,” Sweeney said, noting his strong performances in Bermudas and curved greens at different speeds. “He has this ability to look good on every surface, which very few players do.”