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Will Zalatoris at the FedEx St Jude. Photo via
Will Zalatoris has packed a lot into his career already. At just 25 years old, he had finished second in three of the four Majors, cracked the top ten in the world rankings, and generally been viewed asone of the best prospects in the game. But Zalatoris had never won on the PGA Tour until last Sunday at the FedEx St Jude Championship. Zalatoris, who won in a playoff , provided some of the best drama we have seen this year in golf. More importantly for the American, he answered his critics. Golf is littered with examples of players who struggle to translate fine performances into victories, and Zalatoris looked in danger of that becoming a theme of his career. He answered those critics in style on August 14 th – two days shy of his 26 th birthday.
Now that Zalatoris has got the monkey off his back, it feels like he can go on a similar trajectory to other young guns like Cameron Smith and Scottie Scheffler. A Major should be within his sights. He seems at home at Augusta, in particular, having finished 2 nd and 6 th in his two appearances at the Masters. According to golf betting platforms, he is around 7 th favorite to win the 2023 Masters, with similar odds given for the US Open and PGA Championship next year.
Player has worked hard on his game
If you have followed Zalatoris’ career, you will know that it hasn’t always been easy. He was certainly not seen as having a precocious talent in the same way as, say, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy were when they came through the ranks. In fact, just four years ago, Zalatoris was struggling to make it through the Korn Ferry Q School Tour. Just over two years later, he was named Rookie of the Year on the PGA Tour.
And yet, Zalatoris is far from a journeyman talent. He works hard at his game, yes, but there is also a sense of the master craftsman at work. Again, we should point to Augusta – a grueling test for the best golfers in the world. Zalatoris’ game seems uniquely suited to the blue-chip events . Of the nine Majors he has played so far in his career, he has finished in the top 10 six times. That’s an incredible record, particularly for a player still learning his trade.
Top 10s don’t always lead to victories
Still, finishing in the top 10 in a Major is different from winning one. Colin Montgomerie, Rickie Fowler, Lee Westwood, Bernard Gallacher – there is an endless list of greats who have done well in Majors without ever winning one. Others, like Sergio Garcia, show that a lot of patience might be required before finally breaking that duck.
None of this means to say that Zalatoris will suddenly start gobbling up the big wins now that he has a single PGA victory under his belt. But the St Jude win has put him on the map, leading to more interest from the mainstream media in this talented young player. But he has the goods to go one better in the Majors. If he does take the Green Jacket or the US Open trophy in 2023, you should not be surprised.