Collin Morikawa hits reset at Dubai Desert Classic after Abu Dhabi disappointment

World No 2 struggled in the capital, but has intensified preparations ahead of Rolex Series event at Emirates Golf Club

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After a disappointing display - by his own lofty standards - in Abu Dhabi last week, Collin Morikawa did what all elite-level golfers do: he immediately set about rectifying things.

“I have a lot to work on,” said the world No 2 on Tuesday at Emirates Golf Club, as he prepared for the Dubai Desert Classic. "Spent all afternoon yesterday working. It was probably the hardest, longest I've worked in a while pre-tournament on a Monday. But it's good.

“Sometimes you need to have that reset button and really figure out and dive deep. I had my agent and my caddie, and we were just literally sitting on the range for hours trying to figure out what to do.

“We know what's not working. It's just trying to get back to my old swing and trying to get back to what I know I can do. I still have a couple things I've got to work out and feel, but I'm in a much better position right now, at least if I had to go play tomorrow or right now, versus where I was last week.”

Last week, upon debut at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, Morikawa just about made the cut. He concluded Day 2 at a blustery Yas Links right on the number – 3-over par – before eventually finishing on Sunday in a tie for 62nd.

To be fair, the conditions in the capital weren’t particularly forgiving, especially on Friday when the wind was up and so too were the scores.

“It happens,” said Morikawa, the winner of last year's Open and reigning Race to Dubai champion. “Thankfully I was still able to learn a lot from it and show up this week with a fresh mind and ready to go.”

The short drive between emirates, not to mention the additional endeavour on the range, has helped put last week in the rear-view mirror.

You just forget about it,” Morikawa said. “It's as simple as that, really. It's not I need to sit in a bed or stare at a wall to try to figure out what I do. It's just in my nature, I want to get better.

“I am trying to figure out what I did poorly and try to work to get better this week. It's just about remembering things I've done well in the past, and it's as simple as really forgetting about what happened. I can't do anything about what happened last week. It happened. I played bad. I learned from it."

Fortunately for Morikawa, as the two-time major champion relayed, at least he knows what to expect in Dubai. He made his Desert Classic bow last year, finishing T68th. This week marks the tournament's first as a Rolex Series event. As such, it boasts an $8 million purse.

“After last week, I have things I need to work on,” Morikawa said. “I'll get that done by Thursday and I'll be ready. It's just going out and playing the course the best I can.

"What happened last week, I wasn't really in my head. I wasn't playing to my strengths. Obviously I had no clue where the ball was going, which makes it a lot harder. But out here, I now the course and where I need to hit it.”

Updated: January 25, 2022, 1:38 PM