Toptracer gave us the juicy details: 165 mph ball speed, 274 yards carry, 74 feet of curvature, left to right. The ball peeled around a stand of cypress trees down the right side, all but winking as it flew by; landed just shy of the green; and bounded up toward the pin, stopping 7 feet short.
What happened at the drivable 16th hole at TPC Harding Park changed everything: Collin Morikawa, in just his second major start, had seized control of a PGA Championship in which seven players were at one point tied for the lead.
Watching from the tee, Cameron Champ, Morikawa’s playing partner, would liken it to a video-game shot – so flawless as to seem almost unreal. It was late afternoon, and with no on-site fans, walking scorers and laser operators whooped and hollered in the damp, cool air.
Morikawa flashed a quick smile at his caddie. The real-time odds swung dramatically in his favor. Paul Casey, playing in the group just ahead, looked back from the 17th tee and realized his chances had just taken a massive setback.
Here’s how it happened, according to those who were there. All week, the 16th hole, the last good place to attack at TPC Harding Park, loomed as the potential turning point. And the fact that it was drivable – Justin Thomas hit it to 18 feet in Friday’s second round but missed the eagle putt – added intrigue.
Collin Morikawa, statements
“I wasn’t planning on going for it at the beginning of the week, so I actually never even tried it” The European Tour and Ryder Cup Europe today announced Tour Consumer Experiences, an 11-year strategic venture with industry-leading sports marketing and data technology company Two Circles Tour Consumer Experiences will combine the European Tour and Ryder Cup Europe’s knowledge of creating world-class golf experiences with Two Circles’ extensive insight around sports fan behaviours and technology-driven sales and marketing capabilities.
The new venture will manage sales and marketing of all ticketing and premium experiences for the next three European editions of the Ryder Cup and select European Tour events until 2031, and see the introduction of innovative new products that enhance the event experience and grow ticketing and premium revenue.
In addition to the 2023 Ryder Cup at Marco Simone, Rome, Italy, the 2027 edition at Adare Manor, Ireland and the 2031 edition, at a venue to be announced, the venture covers the annual BMW PGA Championship and Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open, two of the European Tour’s premium Rolex Series events, and several other annual tournaments.
Tour Consumer Experiences is made up from personnel from all three parties covering marketing, data and insight, premium sales and ticketing operations. Two Circles will also invest significant resources into the venture. The venture has already enjoyed a successful start, with a record-breaking first weekend of sales for this year’s BMW PGA Championship following the launch of flexible ticket options for the third Rolex Series event of 2021 last Friday.
Guy Kinnings, Deputy CEO European Tour, Ryder Cup Director and Chief Commercial Officer, said: “We are delighted to announce this venture with Two Circles. Fans are one of the key drivers behind the success of our events, in particular the Ryder Cup, and we look forward to working with Two Circles to develop consumer experiences for all spectators at our tournaments.