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The 150th Open: Champion Collin Morikawa not concerned about cash but memories and hopes of a defence of the Claret Jug

Collin Morikawa with the Claret Jug.

Champion Collin Morikawa can only better the script for defending the Claret Jug at the historic 150th Open in one way – defending it at the 151st.

The 25-year-old American won the Open at his first attempt last year and will defend his title at St Andrews in July.

“Being defending champion at the 150th Open at St Andrews, you can’t script it any better,” he said. “Other than being the defending champion at the 151st!

“Hopefully, I can pull it with the energy of all those 290,000 fans. It would be very, very special to defend at the 150th Open.”

‘It’s just love of the game’

But Morikawa still couldn’t tell you how much money he made at Sandwich for his win.

“That’s not what I play for,” he said, referencing the millions being played for on the breakaway Saudi-backed LIV Investments Tour.

“The idea the only thing that keeps us here is money, that’s just not true. If that were the case, you would have 100 signed up for this other tour that’s happening, but you don’t. You just have an unknown 15.”

LIV Investments, the group headed by Greg Norman and financed by the Saudis, have said 15 players in the world’s top 100 have registered for their opening event, at the Centurion Club in St Albans in June.

Morikawa has already pledged his future to the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour, and he’s not attracted by the millions on the rebel tour.

“When it comes down to it for me, it’s just the love of the game,” he said. “I think what the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour have aligned themselves to do and what we are growing into is great.

“I’m not complaining about where I’m at right now. I love the position we are at. I want to keep winning more. Money is obviously a great second part of it.

‘I could not tell you what I made last year’

“But I didn’t finish winning the Open last year asking what I made. I could not tell you what I made last year at all.

“At the end of the day, I’m speaking about the memories of the Claret Jug. Showing it to people and bringing it around at home.”

Seeing the faces of people close to him holding the Claret Jug is his best memory of having the great old trophy for a year, he said.

“Just when I take it out, and they realise what they’re holding and the history of it,” he said. “They read the names that came before me. That reaction of people, that will never get old.”

Relishing a first experience of St Andrews

The 150th Open will bring back treasured memories of championships past.

Morikawa has never played at St Andrews, but will play the week before bat the Scottish Open again and is relishing coming to the Home of Golf.

“I’ve never been to a golf course where really the entire town is encompassed around the course like St Andrews,” he said. “The love for the game of golf breathes and lives through the town. That’s what I’m most looking forward to experiencing.

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

“I look forward to going there and embracing everything. Being part of the town when everything is about The Open.”

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