AVONDALE, La. – Late last year, Collin Morikawa approached Viktor Hovland with an idea to partner at this week’s Zurich Classic, which is the PGA Tour’s only team stroke-play event.
It was the same week that Hovland rallied from six strokes behind Morikawa to win the Hero World Challenge and just a few weeks removed from the duo’s heated Sunday singles match at the Ryder Cup that ended in a tie. Where some might have seen a competitive animosity between the two young stars was actually a growing appreciation.
“I think just what we've done, I think each of us has six wins maybe through the three years, just under three years that we've turned pro,” Morikawa said. “It just shows that, when times are under pressure or you're put on a stage like alternate shot, you show up, and you're ready to hit some good shots and you're ready to perform.”
Although the pairing seemed obvious, Hovland was slow to commit, so in January Morikawa decided to pin the Norwegian down on the partnership at an interesting moment during the Dubai Desert Classic on the DP World Tour.
“I kind of circled him right before he won in Dubai on the DP World [Tour], right before his playoff (which Hovland won), and I was like, 'So, are we doing this?'” Morikawa said with a laugh. “He looked at me, and he was kind of questioning what was going on. I solidified that and signed us up.”