With family ties to devastating Maui fires, Collin Morikawa donating money to relief effort per playoff birdie
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Qualifying for The Sentry in Maui is on every PGA Tour player’s to-do list, but for Collin Morikawa the trip to Kapalua is far more meaningful.
The two-time major champion’s grandfather owned The Morikawa Restaurant on Front Street in Lahaina and he still has relatives who live on Maui, which made Thursday’s news from Hawai’i that much more difficult.
“I woke up this morning, just checking the news, and to see how many people have passed away from that, yeah, it’s … I’m at a loss for words,” Morikawa said Thursday at the FedEx St. Jude Championship.
A wildfire fueled by a dry summer and strong winds from a passing hurricane devastated historic Lahaina on Wednesday, leaving entire neighborhoods and Front Street scorched. The death toll from the wildfire has reached at least 36.
Morikawa has pledged to donate $1,000 for every birdie he makes during the playoffs to two Hawai’i charities, the Maui United Way and World Central Kitchen. That effort is off to a solid start at TPC Southwind with six birdies and a 65 that left him two shots behind early leader Jordan Spieth.
“It’s devastating what we’ve been seeing. The before-and-after photos are just heartbreaking, knowing that my entire dad’s side of the family grew up there. My grandparents were born in Lahaina,” said Morikawa, whose family emigrated to Maui from Japan. “We had the restaurant out there. We went there as kids. It’s a special place. It’s amazing how many things you take for granted really in life, and when you see that, it’s just heartbreaking.”