Collin Morikawa’s “greed” cost him the Masters, shot at Green Jacket

Augusta National punishes aggressive, greedy play, often turning promising ball flights into double-bogies or worse at the drop of a dime.

You must stay patient on this golf course, or else you will feel the pain that Collin Morikawa experienced on Sunday’s back nine.

His demise began on the par-4 9th hole, where Morikawa pushed his tee shot into the pine straw to the right of the fairway.

But he got greedy. He tried to punch a low hook up onto the three-tier green, which sits almost 100 feet above the fairway. With the pin sitting on the front left portion, the one place Morikawa could not miss was into the left bunkers.

He found one of them and ultimately made a double bogey.

Masters Tournament

Collin Morikawa looks frustrated on the 9th green during the final round of the 2024 Masters.
Photo by Ben Jared/PGA Tour via Getty Images

Then, two holes later, Morikawa tried to take the flag stick on at 11. Historically the most challenging hole at Augusta, you must play to the right side of the green on the 11th. A pond sits to the left of it, and whenever the pin sits on the left side like it did Sunday, you must avoid it.

Morikawa ignored Augusta’s unwritten rules and tried to make up his growing deficit with one swing. The move backfired as he found the drink.

“Greed got the best of me,” Morikawa said after.

“I knew where I stood. I just can’t do that. In the past, I haven’t done it, but it’s kind of where the game’s at. You kind of find your little stride. We put a lot of pieces of the puzzle together this week, but after watching Scottie [Scheffler] this week, I know what to do if I really want to close this gap on what he’s doing and how impressive he’s playing.”

Scheffler won The Masters in historic fashion, failing to make a mistake on the back-nine to win by four.

“He drives the ball plenty, plenty long, well past me,” Morikawa said of Scheffler.

Collin Morikawa, The Masters

Collin Morikawa congratulates Scottie Scheffler on his victory at the 2024 Masters.
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

“Hits his irons, obviously spectacular. Keeps it simple. Makes the putts when he needs to. If he doesn’t, still has plenty of chances. And just never put himself in trouble.”

Still, the gap between Morikawa and Scheffler is like a side-view mirror: closer than it appears. Like Scheffler, Morikawa has won two major championships and is widely regarded as an elite iron player.

But Morikawa has had a difficult season thus far. Still, he believes he found something positive in his swing earlier this week, which led to his best performance of 2024 to date.

“There’s only a couple of holes out here that hurt me,” Morikawa explained.

“I still feel like I can hit my shots out here. Yeah, it would be nice to hit it farther, but I think with the game I have, if I can just tighten a few things up, I’m not that far off. I mean, I finished, what, seven shots back? I think it was a little closer mentally for me.”

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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