Will Zalatoris and the PGA are both winners in Memphis

Will Zalatoris, FedEx St. Jude Championship,(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Will Zalatoris, FedEx St. Jude Championship,(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

It took countless attempts, heartwrenching losses on the biggest of stages, and one of the wildest finishes of the season, before Will Zalatoris at long last became a winner on the PGA Tour.

A winner on the PGA Tour, that is something that Will Zalatoris can now refer to himself as after his nerve-racking playoff victory at this year’s FedEx St. Jude Championship.

It took three playoff holes, the type of ending that brought to mind last year’s Travelers Championship when Harris English outlasted Kramer Hickock after a seemingly endless playoff, and some advice from his new caddie at a pivotal moment for Will Zalatoris to get across the line this week in Memphis.

After playing the 18th hole at TPC Southwind twice during the extra session alongside 2022 Honda Classic winner Sepp Straka, who had missed six consecutive cuts coming into the week, the pair made their way to the challenging Par 3, 11th hole.

Will Zalatoris caught what at the time appeared to be one of the most fortuitous of breaks after watching his approach into the 11th green bounce along the greenside rock wall and somehow avoid the water.

Staka would prove to be not so lucky as he sent his next shot right of the green and watched on as it also bounced off the rocks before finding the water hazard.

Will Zalatoris had made the hard decision at last week’s Wyndham Championship to part ways with longtime caddie Ryan Goble, so it was new caddie Joel Stock who found himself on the bag this week for Will’s first PGA win.

Stock would play a pivotal role in helping Zalatoris navigate a tricky situation on the third playoff hole. After Will’s tee shot, the pair discovered Zalatoris’s ball sitting on top of the greenside rocks above the water below and right up against the sticky Bermuda grass.

The 25-year-old Zalatoris attempted to figure out any way possible to attempt the shot, before eventually relenting and taking the advice of his caddie to take the sensible drop from the drop zone.

It was a wise decision as Will proceeded to stick his third into the heart of green which in turn eventually led to the playoff-deciding putt after Straka had sent his third from the same drop zone into a greenside bunker before playing out with his fourth.

Epic playoff is a win for both Will Zalatoris and the PGA Tour.

The epic playoff during this week’s first event of the FedEx Cup playoffs is a reminder of the type of drama that can be found on any given week on the PGA Tour.

This is a seemingly stark contrast to what the rival LIV Golf series has offered up thus far. On a Tour where large checks are already guaranteed there seems to be very little incentive for players on the new series to compete with the same type of passion.

It is this type of dramatic finish that the PGA Tour will be hoping to hang their hat on moving forward as they fight tooth and nail against the emergence of LIV Golf.

The world’s best players will continually be swayed by the LIV money, as has seemingly been the case with Cameron Smith who will be reportedly making the switch in the coming weeks.

For some players like Will Zalatoris, however, there will be more that drives and inspires them moving forward.

Next. Will Zalatoris's Year. dark

Will Zalatoris achieved a lifelong dream by winning on Tour this week and the PGA will be hoping that future players have similar aspirations going forward.

If dramatic and exciting finishes that are fuelled by passion and competition are what the PGA offers, then perhaps things will be alright after all.

Either way, chalk this one up in the win column for both Will Zalatoris and the PGA Tour.