At the age of just 24 Collin Morikawa has been awarded Honorary Lifetime Membership of the European Tour. Morikawa, who wrapped up the Race to Dubai title this week and became the first American to top the European money list, joins a list of illustrious compatriots after a stellar two-and-a-half years after turning pro. That’s right, not even three years in.
Morikawa won the Open at Sandwich in July, which gave him two majors in just eight starts, and he now follows in the footsteps of Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus and Patrick Reed as a life member of the European Tour.
"It's a very strong list and, when you're a part of that group, and you're able to make history as the first American, hopefully that sets the stage to see this is a growing game around the world. Two and a half years ago when I turned pro, I had no clue what life was going to put in front of me, but I'm very thankful for what I've been able to accomplish. Obviously the world has gone through many changes, but this means a lot and I have to say thanks to the European Tour. We have personal goals trying to win tournaments, but it's how do you leave a legacy and impacting the game for the future.
"We want to grow the game as much as we can, and this is an important piece of that. So I'm going to honour this and this is going to be very special and it is definitely a top highlight so far since turning pro, so thank you."
European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley, who will now oversee the European Tour becoming the DP World Tour, added: "Collin is an incredible talent and he has already accomplished so much in the game at such a young age. To win the Open Championship at the first attempt is a special achievement. I know how much Collin enjoys competing on the European Tour and we were all very proud to see one of our members lift the Claret Jug in front of so many fans at Sandwich this summer."
Bizarrely, if you were to take away the WGCs and major starts, Morikawa had only started three European Tour events before landing this award.