After producing the best round of his LIV Golf career and celebrating Ripper GC’s first team victory with his fellow Aussies at LIV Golf Bedminster, Jediah Morgan processed a variety of emotions he hadn’t felt in a while.
Happiness. Satisfaction. Relief. A sense of accomplishment. Hope. Optimism.
Amazing the kind of power a 5-under 66 can have on a professional golfer.
But it wasn’t just a simple 66. It was the lowest score in the field that final day at Bedminster, on a tough, challenging major-type golf course. And it allowed the Rippers to cruise to an 11-stroke victory on Sunday while his captain Cameron Smith completed the trophy sweep with the individual title.
No wonder the 23-year-old from Brisbane couldn’t stop smiling, even as he walked around in stocking feet, a by-product of the shoey toast he had shared with Smith, Marc Leishman and Matt Jones on the top of the podium.
“I’ve been looking for whatever we had today with my caddie for four to five months,” Morgan said. “It’s nice to see that we can do it because it’s been a lot of rounds put together over the last four months that have told me I can’t really do it.
“Today’s been nice.”
Less than 24 earlier, the emotions were much different, more low-spirited for Morgan as he spoke to his father on the phone. He had just shot a second-round 7-over 78, matching his worst round of the year. He wasn’t mad – he was just disappointed in himself. Disheartened. “You just feel a bit down,” Morgan said, “when you're not quite doing what you want to do for everyone and for yourself.”
The 20-minute conversation included some tears on his end, and his teammates knew afterward that Morgan had left no feelings unturned.
Amazing the kind of power a negative round can have on a professional golfer, too.
“We all stayed in the same house,” Leishman said. “We saw what he was going through. We saw he was a little bit down. But everyone has their own way of going through things, and I think you have to know that about yourself, who to call, and he knew who to call – and it worked out for him and for us.”
Worked out to the tune of one eagle and four birdies on Sunday. It was a terrific offensive showing for Morgan, who has struggled to produce birdies this season (he has the fewest among all players who have started all 11 tournaments).
He has the power game that can lead to low scores – he’s 10th in the league in driving distance, the top Ripper in that category. But the rewards have been few this season, and as such, it’s left him wondering whether to be more cautious. That’s not really his nature.
Asked what he took from the 66, Morgan said, “Just continuing to be aggressive with my shots. As Cam said, it’s easy to be offensive out here. It’s nice to know I played aggressive today and I got rewarded for it.”
His Ripper teammates know that Morgan has plenty of talent; after all, he won the Australian PGA Championship in January 2022; less than a year later, Smith won the next edition. Although his Ripper teammates have more experience and credentials, they don’t view Morgan as just being along for the ride.
“We all know what he can do, and we all believe in what he can do, and for him to do it today on this golf course in these conditions, which were not easy for anyone … that's what we expect of him every week. We expect him to be able to do that,” Jones said. “I'm not putting pressure on him, but that's what we believe he can do.”
The key now, of course, is for Morgan to build on that 66 and sustain the positive, productive play.
He’s in the United Kingdom for the two International Series tournaments on the Asian Tour. He’ll be one of nearly two dozen players competing at Close House this week at International Series England, then also play St Andrews Bay Championship in Scotland next week.
When the LIV Golf schedule resumes next month at LIV Golf Chicago at Rich Harvest Farms, Sept. 22-24, Morgan will begin the big final push to secure status for next year’s league.
He’s currently 46th in the season-long Individual Champion points standings, meaning he’s in the projected Drop Zone of non-captain players who will be relegated for a finish of 45th or lower.
If he can climb into the 25-44 range, he’ll be in the Open Zone and available as a free agent. If he can climb into the top 24, he’ll be guaranteed a spot next year. Pat Perez of 4Aces GC is currently the bubble player at No. 24 with 47 points. Morgan has three points, all from his 17th place in Singapore. Despite his heroics on Sunday at Bedminster, he still finished outside the points in 27th, his best result since Singapore.
With two regular-season tournaments left in Chicago and Jeddah, Morgan would need a couple of top-3 results to move into the top 24. But he’s just five points out of 44th, making it much more achievable to at least get in the Open Zone.
“I know where I stand, obviously in the bottom four right now,” Morgan said. “I know that I don’t want to be where I am. I haven’t played good enough and I’m in a world-class field. It’s pretty simple – I just need to beat them.
“Those last two events are pretty big for me and pretty big for my position next year. I’m not going to shy away from the challenge.”