Golf-Morikawa embraces Japanese culture in search of gold

TOKYO, July 27 (Reuters) – After winning the British Open, Collin Morikawa is relishing his Olympic debut in Tokyo after gaining a taste for Japan and its culture on previous visits to the country.

The 24-year-old, half-Japanese, has moved up to third place in the world rankings after winning two major titles since turning pro two years ago.

“This is the fourth time that I have been here (in Japan), the third time that I have played golf, and it is not only because I love the area and I love everything, but you embrace the culture “Morikawa told reporters on Tuesday.

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“You just love being here. I think you feel like part of society when you are here, you feel respected. As athletes you want to be respected. We are very grateful to be here. . “

Players can expect some rain at Kasumigaseki Country Club on Thursday when the first round begins and Morikawa said their approach shots should be near perfect.

“It’s incredible here, the conditions are perfect,” he added. “It’s unfortunate that we’re going to have a little rain, it’s going to be milder than probably what we were hoping for.

“It’s still going to put a really good test to make sure you hit it really good to start with and then to see what kind of ups and downs you can do. I think you can get some pretty tough lies here.”

Morikawa will approach the course playing with former world number one Rory McIlroy while home favorite and Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama is also on the pitch.

“Golf is golf, we play four days, every week is different. You don’t know how someone is going to play and I think that’s what makes our sport amazing,” said Morikawa.

“Some of the best players in the world are very consistent. When you put him on a stage like this, who’s going to be able to ramp up?”

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Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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