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LOS ANGELES – It might not have been love at first sight for Collin Morikawa but the 24-year-old eventually got there.
Morikawa was born in Los Angeles and grew up in La Cañada, which is about an hour’s drive with friendly traffic from Riviera Country Club, but he never made it out to the area’s annual PGA Tour stop growing up.
“I never really had an interest, I’ll be honest. Like it was never my interest when I was a kid to go and watch golf,” Morikawa said Tuesday from the Genesis Invitational. “That was just never my thing.”
During the 2017 U.S. Amateur at Riviera Morikawa developed an affinity for the course, but it wasn’t until he turned pro that he fell for the layout.
“I loved playing Riv in the U.S. Am, I liked it, but last year I actually fell in love and I know why my caddie [J.J. Jakovac] loves this golf course. I keep falling in love with it and it just makes it a little more special being in L.A.,” he said.
In his first start last year at the Genesis Invitational Morikawa tied for 26th after bookend rounds of 73, but that pedestrian start didn’t overshadow his growing fondness.
“You look at a great golf course and does it test every shot, does it test everything that you need?” Morikawa said. “That’s what Riviera does. You hit every shot out here, you hit draws, you hit fades, wedges, long irons, 3-woods, everything, and I think that’s what makes a great golf course.”