Collin Morikawa hopes he can be a helping hand to those in need due to the deadly Maui wildfire.
The devastating disaster has left 36 people dead and destroyed scores of homes on the Hawaiian island, where the PGA golfer has family.
Morikawa, 26, in a Wednesday Instagram post said he’ll be donating $1,000 for every birdie he makes during the FedEx Cup playoffs.
In his post’s caption, he described the hurt he felt after seeing the fires spread on the island and how his personal connection moved him to action.
Morikawa, who grew up in Los Angeles, said his grandfather owned an eatery called The Morikawa Restaurant on Front Street in the Maui town of Lahaina, where over 1,000 structures have been destroyed.
“The people of Hawaii are going to need all the support that we can give them,” he said in the post. “During the course of the playoffs, I’m going to donate $1000 for every birdie that I make.
What we know about the Maui Wildfires
At least 36 people have died in the wake of the Maui wildfires that started late Tuesday.
“We’ve still got dead bodies floating on the seawall,” one Lahaina resident told Hawaii News Now. “They’ve been sitting there since last night.”
The wildfires, fanned by strong winds have burned multiple buildings, forced evacuations, and caused power outages in several communities.
The National Weather Service said Hurricane Dora was partly to blame for the strong winds that knocked out power as night came. About 13,000 residents in Maui are without power, according to reports.
People are rushing to the ocean to escape the smoke and flames fanned by Hurricane Dora.
Fire crews in Maui are battling multiple fires in the popular tourist destination of West Maui and an inland, mountainous region. Firefighters have struggled to reach some areas that were cut off by downed trees and power lines.
“The recency of these events means we haven’t identified the best place for the funds to go yet but as the situation evolves, I’ll share the beneficiary to highlight the recovery work they’ll be doing and how you can also support.”
Morikawa, who spoke to reporters at the FedEx St. Jude Championship, said most of his family moved to Oahu, but said those that remained in Oahu seemed to be OK.
The 26-year-old Morikawa, a two-time major winner, made six birdies on Thursday en route to a 5-under 65 and is tied for third place after the first round.
“It’s devastating what we’ve been seeing,” he said, according to the Associated Press. “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. We had the restaurant out there. That’s what the photo was. 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.”
After one round at the St. Jude Championship, he is 5-under after shooting a 65, two back of leader Jordan Spieth.
With three more rounds to go and two more playoff tournaments left after this one, Morikawa hopes he can really make a difference with his play.
“Look, it’s one of the best places in the world we travel to year in and year out to go to Kapalua, play golf there,” he said. “I know I’m going to ask my sponsors, I’m going to ask people that I know just to help out.
“Anything helps — per birdie I make, whatever you can afford, whatever you want to put in. I’m going to be pushing hard to make those birdies, and hopefully everyone else can reach out and help out as much as they can.”