‘Literally have never had this in my life’: 2-time major winner explains stunning WD

Collin Morikawa, Trevor Immelman

Collin Morikawa, left, and Trevor Immelman on Sunday on the range at Muirfield Village.

Golf Channel

Collin Morikawa, minutes after his abrupt withdrawal from the Memorial Tournament due to back spasms, summed up his thoughts in seven letters across two words. 

“It sucks.”

Indeed. On a few fronts. First, the immediate. Morikawa had been just two shots back entering the final round on Sunday, and he had been a winner at Muirfield Village before, at the 2020 Workday Charity Open — but his chances are now done. 

The cause was sudden, he said. 

“Muscle in the back, lower back, just kind of gave out. We were doing some reflex stuff, trying to reach down and try to pick something up like quick and low. Went after it weird. Literally have never had this in my life. I’ve hurt my back briefly before, but like nothing has been this bad, especially never warming up, never doing anything pre-round. …

“I think it’s the first tournament I’ve ever withdrawn from in my entire life. I can’t really think of anywhere else that I have had to withdraw. It sucks because this is a tournament that I love. I’ve played well and put ourselves in contention. But I have to look out for myself and got to be smart.”

Morikawa said he tried to go — he hit 10 balls on the range and “chunked a 9-iron about 95 yards — but called it. And now there’s doubt. 

In two weeks time is the U.S. Open at L.A. Country Club — in Morikawa’s home state of California. Next month is the Open Championship, where, in 2021, he won the second of his two major championships. For his part, he said he’s not worried. 

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“I mean, I do want to be 100 percent by the time, you know, end of next week, so I can get some really good work in. Just not a time in the season where you want it to happen. And all signs, I woke up fine, all signs led to me being fine. Just freak little accident warming up.”

Then again, back injuries can linger. As can the jolt of a spasm. 

The issue is sometimes not easily dismissible. On the Golf Channel broadcast, analyst Frank Nobilo noted that if “you can’t make a turn, you can’t make a swing.”

Still, one thing is guaranteed. 

“Never doing that exercise again,” Morikawa said.

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