Newlywed Will Zalatoris returns from back injury at Sentry

Zalatoris led the TOUR last season in Strokes Gained. Approach-the-Green, after ranking no. 7 the season before. He ranked top-three in both Total Driving and Greens in Regulation on the 2019 and 2020-21 Korn Ferry Tour, as well.

The Wake Forest alum has been a premier ball-striker for four consecutive seasons in TOUR-sanctioned competition, and he admits it’s not a natural inclination to want to change anything. But in the name of avoiding future injury, he is working through the proverbial process.

“We’ve looked at everything I was doing, to make sure I was doing all the right things and we were checking all the boxes, and it was strictly a motor pattern thing,” said Zalatoris, who has opted to temporarily decrease his driver length (to approximately 44.75 inches, down from 46 inches) as he works through the setup change.

“Which is kind of a good thing and a bad thing, because when I was hitting the ball the way I was, it’s hard to want to change anything, but at the same time I actually saw some benefits. I’m more efficient in my golf swing — so that’s why the speed is the same with the shorter driver; it’s just because of the efficiency now of how I push into a golf ball.”

The 26-year-old has long shown an aptitude for quickly bouncing back from injury. After withdrawing from the 2021 Open Championship due to a muscular issue, he finished T8 in his next start, the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational three weeks later. Back in 2015, he finished T4 at the Pacific Coast Amateur shortly after returning from an emergency appendectomy.

Zalatoris experienced a string of close calls last year – namely six top-six finishes in an eight-event stretch, including runner-up finishes at the PGA Championship and US Open – before his breakthrough victory at the FedEx St. Jude Championship. Suddenly the close-call narrative was put to bed – he memorably exclaimed, “What are they gonna say now!” upon draining a par putt on the 72nd hole to force a playoff with Sepp Straka at TPC Southwind. Zalatoris won on the third playoff hole.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *