The Masters: Collin Morikawa to take new approach at Augusta; Cameron Smith 'hungry' for success
Morikawa one of five players who can move above Scottie Scheffler as world No 1 this week; Cameron Smith also has chance to top the world rankings for the first time - Watch The Masters throughout the week live on Sky Sports Golf
By Ali Stafford at Augusta National
Last Updated: 05/04/22 9:28am
Collin Morikawa believes he has learnt a valuable lesson on how to tackle Augusta National ahead of his bid to win the third leg of a career Grand Slam at The Masters.
Morikawa finished 44th on his debut in November 2020 and could only claim a share of 18th in last year's contest, with the American both years following the notion that golfers must play a draw to find success around the Georgia layout.
The two-time major champion has abandoned those plans to stick to his usual shot shape for this year's contest, with Morikawa hoping to follow three worldwide top-10s in seven starts with his first victory of 2022.
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"I think the biggest thing is, I need to play my game," Morikawa said. "You hear how much you need to hit draws (at Augusta) and you have to hit it high and you have to do certain things, but that's what I did wrong the past two years.
"Pretty much my week of prep two years ago and last year was how do I hit a draw, how do I hit a high draw, how do I do this. This year was a little different. This year I just made sure everything was finely tuned and I go out there and figure out how to play the course to my strengths."
Morikawa admitted to having limited knowledge of golfing history, with the world No 3 more focused on creating his own legacy in the game than looking back at highlights from past events.
"I'll say it again, history of golf kind of goes in one ear, comes out the other, goes in the eyes, exits somewhere," Morikawa added. "Things just don't stick in my head. It's not like I don't respect it and don't take it the wrong way, like I respect the sport fully. I just want to win. I want to be out here. I want to make history.
"Go back to The Open and people are asking me, 'What's your earliest memory?' I really didn't have one. I just love playing the game."
Scheffler: Tiger fever allows us to fly under the radar
Scottie Scheffler says the presence of Tiger Woods at Augusta allows the other golfers to "fly under the radar" at The Masters.
Woods practised on Monday ahead of a "game-time decision" on whether or not to compete in a first major tournament since suffering career-threatening leg injuries in a car crash last February.
"I would say having Tiger anywhere deflects a lot of attention from a lot of us," Scheffler said. "It's definitely easier for us to fly under the radar.
"We're all excited. Hopefully he can come out and play this week. It should be a fun week if he does."
Scheffler became world No 1 last week after winning the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, but said he has already been "brought back down to earth" after being mistaken for compatriot Xander Schauffele by Masters officials.
"I've been humbled a couple times already showing up here," he said with a laugh. "The guy who picked me up in my cart this morning called me Xander. So that brought me back down to earth real quick!
"But you know, it's been great. I'm really looking forward to this week. It's going to be a lot of fun."
Smith 'hungry' for major success
Cameron Smith returns to action for the first time since his win at The Players last month, with the Australian arriving at Augusta National as one of six players who can end the week as world No 1.
Smith would need a victory and other results to work in his favour to jump from sixth to top of the standings, two years on from becoming the first player in tournament history to break 70 in all four rounds at The Masters.
The 28-year-old is already a two-time winner in 2022, having broken the PGA Tour scoring record on his way to victory at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, with Smith now looking to join Woods as the only players to win The Players and The Masters in the same year.
"l feel pretty hungry," Smith said when asked about his appetite for more success. "(It's a) pretty good time of year to be playing good golf. I've still been working hard the last couple of weeks at home, and I really can't wait to get back out here this week.
"I've had three weeks off after The Players. Yeah, just ready to compete. I feel like my game hasn't done too much over the last few weeks. Just hitting a few balls here and there and focusing on the short game for around here.
"I think my game is already there (to win a major). The Players was nice to tick that box, I guess, but I feel as though I can compete against anyone in any given week. I feel really confident in my game. I feel like I can play any shot under any circumstance and I'm ready to go out there."
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