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Collin Morikawa and caddie J.J. Jakovac form perfect partnership

Less than per week earlier than making an attempt to qualify for the 2019 U.S. Open, Collin Morikawa had one main element to deal with: safe the companies of a caddie for his upcoming profession in skilled golf.

One factor rapidly led to a different, nevertheless, and Morikawa was on the cellphone with J.J. Jakovac, a former aspiring skilled who discovered larger riches in skilled golf carrying a bag as an alternative of enjoying out of 1.

After 45 minutes on the cellphone, Jakovac began planning a visit to Ohio and 4 days later landed within the Buckeye State to begin his new job with Morikawa in a 36-hole U.S. Open qualifier. They hit it off instantly within the car parking zone of Scioto Country Club regardless of the years separating them – Morikawa’s 24, Jakovac’s 38 – and the baseball groups they’re dedicated to – Morikawa and his Los Angeles Dodgers, Jakovac and his San Francisco Giants.

They’ve been collectively ever since – for 4 wins in Morikawa’s 45 begins as a professional.

“As a college golfer coming out, you really don’t know what your caddie is going to be like or what you’re going to need,” Morikawa stated. “The only question I asked J.J. was if he’s organized.”

Jakovac was put to the take a look at straight away. The day earlier than the Monday U.S. Open qualifier, Morikawa came upon he was awarded an exemption into the approaching week’s RBC Canadian Open and requested Jakovac if he may go north of the border. Trouble was, Jakovac didn’t have his passport and the few garments he had packed for Ohio match right into a carry-on.

PGA: World Golf Championships at The Concession - Third Round

PGA: World Golf Championships at The Concession – Third Round

Collin Morikawa (proper) and caddie J.J. Jakovac look on from the fifteenth tee through the third spherical of World Golf Championships at The Concession golf event at The Concession Golf Club. (Photo: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports)

Jakovac obtained hustling and had his spouse in a single day his passport and he scrounged up just a few further items of clothes for the journey to Toronto.

Morikawa certified for the U.S. Open and then tied for 14th in Canada with Jakovac strolling stride for stride in his skilled debut. One month later he tied for second within the 3M Open in Minnesota. The following week he tied for fourth within the John Deere Classic.

Two weeks later, in his sixth begin as a professional, he received the Barracuda Championship.

He has since added victories within the 2020 Workday Charity Open, the 2021 World Golf Championships-Workday Championship at The Concession and, after all, the 2020 PGA Championship in simply his second begin in a significant.

And Morikawa started his profession with 22 consecutive made cuts, a stretch to begin a professional profession bested solely by Tiger Woods’ 25.

“It only took a couple weeks for me to know that J.J. would be great for me,” Morikawa stated. “He was a former pro. He was a well-respected, experienced caddie. He learned my game quickly. It just made sense and we just kept feeding off each other.

“I’m not saying we’re perfect every time. We still work on things; we still tweak things here and there. But that’s what makes him great; we’re both willing to learn and we’re both willing to try to learn something new at times and if we fail, we fail. We’re trying to get better. He just loves being there just as much as I do.”

There was a time Jakovac needed to be there as a participant. Playing for California State University, Chico, he was the NCAA Division II particular person champion in 2002 and 2004. Three-time All-American. Twice the recipient of the Arnold Palmer Award given to the Division II Player of the Year. And he earned the Jack Nicklaus Award for one of the best collegiate golfer within the nation in 2004.

He turned professional and traveled golf’s lonely roads on mini-tours and the Hooters, Gateway and Golden State excursions. But he failed thrice to get by Q-School and began questioning his journey.

“I made some money, did all right, but I was spinning my wheels and was burned out on it,” Jakovac stated.

PGA: TOUR Championship - First Round

PGA: TOUR Championship – First Round

Collin Morikawa (left) and his caddie J.J. Jakovac stride up the on the fifteenth inexperienced through the first spherical of the Tour Championship golf event at East Lake Golf Club. (Photo: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports)

He took a break and then obtained a name from Matt Bettencourt, who Jakovac had performed in opposition to in newbie golf. Bettencourt was on the lookout for a caddie and Jakovac made a profession change. In 2008, Bettencourt received twice on the Nationwide Tour and was the main cash winner with Jakovac on the bag. The two cut up and Jakovac labored a bit for Peter Tomasulo earlier than hooking up in 2010 with Ryan Moore, a former teammate within the Palmer Cup. The relationship lasted almost eight years and yielded 4 victories.

“I’ve always liked having good players on the bag, someone who has that perspective of knowing how to really play golf, how to deal with different shots, different moments and how difficult it can be,” Moore stated. “I’ve always appreciated someone who has been there, done that and J.J. definitely had that experience. I think Collin feels the same way.”

Jakovac and Moore cut up after the 2018 PGA Championship and Jakovac took one other break to spend time along with his household.

“I wasn’t in a hurry to find another bag,” Jakovac stated.

Some time handed earlier than he was smitten watching Morikawa on TV and realizing all about his standout collegiate profession, he obtained in contact with Andrew Kipper, Morikawa’s agent. Turns out it was a fruitful cellphone name.

“He’s such a nice kid, such a mature kid. It was like after 5 minutes after I met him for the first time that I thought it would work out,” Jakovac stated. “After that it was just all about learning his golf game and distances.

“I’ve told people before that he’s an old soul. He has an ability that is way beyond his years, to just go with the flow on the golf course, to understand he’s going to hit bad golf shots. He doesn’t get flustered or frustrated. He still has the fire and he does get mad, but then it’s like he flips a switch and it’s gone.

“It’s so easy to caddie for him. He thinks like a good caddie on the golf course.

He’s already on the same page with me. And he listens. I trust him, and he trusts me. We’re friends. We like each other. That makes it pretty easy to work together.”

Jakovac will let you know Morikawa’s thoughts is his greatest attribute, much more so than his supreme ball-striking expertise. Among the various moments that stand out occurred on the 2019 John Deere Classic.

In simply his fifth begin as knowledgeable, Morikawa wanted a top-10 end to lock up his card. Morikawa completed in a tie for fourth.

“On the 18th green on Sunday, I was so happy for him, ecstatic, as he comes over to me. I gave him a half hug, half handshake,” Jakovac stated. “I told him he locked up his card and he just said, ‘I know.’ He’s excited but he’s not emotional. I asked him, ‘Aren’t you excited?’ ‘Yeah, I’m excited.’ And then there was a pause for about five seconds when I asked, ‘You knew you were going to do this, huh?’ And he’s like, ‘I thought I was.’

“He expected to get his card in that short of time. He wasn’t over-the-top excited because he expected to do it. That’s special.”

The two are on the identical web page when Morikawa desires to strive new issues, whether or not it’s a brand new putter, placing stroke and studying learn how to barely draw the driving force.

Morikawa appreciates Jakovac having completed that and been there within the grind {of professional} golf.

“I’m so happy to have him on the bag, so let me say thank you, Ryan Moore, for not keeping him on the bag,” he stated. “He’s a person I can talk to on the course and who just keeps it comfortable.

“He knows what to say, when to say it. He has figured out my game and what kind of player I am, what I need to know, what I don’t need to know, and it’s as simple as that. I’m very lucky to have him on the bag.”


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