Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffele Talk ‘Full Swing,’ TGL And Tiger’s Return

Golf is changing and Collin Morikawa knows it.

The 26-year-old, who has five PGA Tour victories since turning professional in 2019, is embracing the evolving landscape that’s prioritizing content, accessibility and technology to attract new fans while providing even more for golf diehards.

That’s why Morikawa, currently ranked No. 9 in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR), was interested in being part of the new Netflix docuseries, Full Swing, a behind-the-scenes look at the 2022 PGA Tour season produced by Vox Media Studios and Box to Box Films, the company behind Formula One: Drive to Survive and tennis’ Break Point.

“We want to show to the world that this is what professional golf is like and this is who we are as people, not just what you see on TV,” Morikawa says. “And that’s the biggest thing, because not everyone can show that by playing 18 holes.

“When we’re out there, that’s kind of our office, that’s our space and that’s our focus, but when you really see us outside those lines, I think it shows a lot of character, and you’ll see a lot of characters absolutely on the show.”

The eight-episode docuseries available February 15 features the likes of Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Scottie Scheffler, Matt Fitzpatrick, Tony Finau and Morikawa. It also features Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Ian Poulter and Joaquin Niemann, who have all since joined the Saudi-backed LIV Golf.

A little more camera shy, Xander Schauffele, currently No. 6 in the world, said he’d be open to potentially participating in the show’s second season.

“I need to look at it,” says Schauffele, who admitted rehabbing from a back injury was his top priority. “Certain players had a lot of involvement in the show, while some people had less. I just need to see how it pans out.

“I think Full Swing is great though. I was super happy Netflix was able to take it on and produce the show because we just need more people to fall in love with golf.”

Not only is the PGA Tour leveraging Full Swing to grow the game, but the Tour is also supporting TGL, a new technology-infused golf league backed by Tiger Woods and McIlroy through their TMRW Sports venture.

Featuring six teams of three PGA Tour players competing across 15 regular-season matches followed by semifinals and finals, the league will take place in a purpose-built venue in Palm Beach, Fla., fusing advanced tech and live action in primetime on Monday nights beginning January 2024.

Morikawa joined TGL in late January, while Olympic gold medalists Justin Rose and Schauffele announced their commitment on February 14 for TGL’s inaugural season.

“I think it’s a great opportunity,” Morikawa says. “If you ask the general public what golf is, they always say it’s really long, it’s boring, and it’s—let’s call it—stuck up in a way. I think the game’s really evolving. … It can go a really long way especially being in the right season right after football, and hopefully everything kind of fits in and works, and hopefully I’m on the winning team as well.”

Tiger’s Return

This week, golf fans weren’t just treated to the debut of Full Swing, but also to the return of Tiger Woods, who has been dealing with a slew of physical ailments, including leg and ankle injuries stemming from a February 2021 car crash.

Woods, who shot -2 (69) on Thursday in the first round of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Golf Course, also developed plantar fasciitis training for his Hero World Challenge last December.

At Genesis, the 15-time major champion is making his first start since the 2002 British Open, and his first start in a non-major in 844 days.

“He is golf. He is what makes the event special, whether he’s hosting or playing, and it’s even that more special when he is playing,” Schauffele says. “Him coming back and competing again always moves the needle and excites people, even non-golfers.”

Adidas Unveils New Products

Adidas golf ambassadors, Morikawa and Schauffele were equally as excited to talk about Full Swing, TGL and Woods’ return as they were the latest golf advancements from the three-stripe brand.

Adidas recently unveiled its newly enhanced ZG23 footwear with the introduction of Lightstrike and Lightstrike Pro technology, offering wearers a revamped insole that combines the brand’s unique cushioning system for stability and comfort.

The Ultimate365 Tour apparel for men and women features products that include high-performance materials for golfers on and off the course.

For Adidas golf president Jeff Lienhart, golf’s growing popularity will not only benefit Adidas, but everyone involved in and around the sport, which also presents a challenge to meet new consumer demand.

“We all obviously benefit when more people are out on the course playing,” Lienhart says. “It’s sort of like in cycling that it’s not just road cycling but Peloton users are also customers. In the game of golf, we have all the different types of formats and different types of golfers coming into the game.

“It’s an industry challenge, but it’s certainly something our brand wants to be part of as well—retaining all these new golfers that have come to the game.”