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Will Zalatoris explains decision to fire longtime caddie mid-tournament

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Players spend an awfully long time with their team.

Whether coach, club manufacturer, agent or caddie, all are working towards one goal – the best result for their man each week.

Some players have a closer relationship with their bag-man than others but, given the time spent together on the range and course, it has to work and continue to keep working.

For Will Zalatoris, this week was the end of the road for his working relationship with his caddie, Ryan Goble. Strangely, though, it came in the middle of a tournament.

The world number 14 remains the highest ranked player yet to win on the PGA Tour, his high status coming via six top-10 finishes in majors over the last couple of seasons, and a host of similar results as a temporary and full member of the tour.

However, after finishing runner up at the PGA and US Open, and posting yet another top-five, this time at the Memorial, results haven’t quite gone to plan – a missed-cut in Scotland followed by 28th at St. Andrews and 20th at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

For Willy Z, things had to change. After opening with a 71 and 66 at the Wyndham Championship, Goble was gone, to be replaced temporarily by his short game and putting coach Josh Gregory, until getting the services of Joel Stock for the FedEx playoffs and beyond.

It was a tough decision for the 25-year-old, who said:

“Yeah, it was the toughest decision I’ve had to make in my golf career. Ryan’s a brother for life. We’ve kind of had a rough month together, and it was starting to affect our relationship. I know guys say that when they split, but it really was.

We were guys that we would love to have dinner together and hang out, and it started — what was going on on the course was starting to bleed off the course, and that’s not what you want.”

Confirming just how hard it is to ‘sack’ one of the closest members of your team, Zalatoris continued:

“He’s an incredible friend. I love him to death, and I told him I had to do what’s best for me. Like I said, he’s just an amazing friend.

You know, obviously you can tell how hard this decision was on me, especially the timing of it, but I think it was just getting a little unhealthy for both of us, and it was — obviously it hurts.”

Zalatoris did not reveal exactly why he made the move halfway through the tournament, but it appears to have been on the cards for a while.

“We both kind of sensed it for a little bit,” Zalatoris said. “And, you know, nothing’s permanent. It’s just something that, like I said, he’s a brother. I love him to death.”

“And obviously it was on my mind. I mean, the finish that I had obviously made the day [Friday] a little bit better, but the frustration between the two of us had just kind of carried over the last month. Like I said, first and foremost, I love him to death and, you know, he’s one of the funniest guys I know and obviously I’ll miss his humor over this next bit, but as I said, nothing’s permanent.”

The ‘finish’ he talked about was the two-eagle, one-birdie finish through the last five holes of the second round, resulting in a 66 and a weekend’s play. But with Gregory by his side, Zalatoris had his best putting figures of the week, on route to a second successive four-under round.

Gregory talked fondly of the previous looper.

“I feel awful, but Ryan Goble was first class the way he handled it,” he said. “He’s been there with Will when Will was ranked over 1,000 in the world and now, he’s a top-15 player in the world and going to trend upwards.”

“So, (Ryan) will be very successful in the future, and he will land a great job and things are going to be good. And it’s going to be a win-win for both of them.”

Zalatoris started the final round just six off the lead, and in with yet another chance of yet another top-10.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Yakety Yak

    Aug 15, 2022 at 4:34 pm

    Gotta do what ya gotta do.
    Rump sits down and make some pooh.
    People come and people go.
    Drop some weight and make some dough.

  2. Pingback: ‘I can’t believe I said that’ – Will Zalatoris blasted critics after key moment in Memphis win – GolfWRX

  3. Rj

    Aug 14, 2022 at 5:43 pm

    Caddy the reason he couldnt finish off tournaments? D*** move in the middle by a baby

  4. Vic Colfari

    Aug 8, 2022 at 12:44 pm

    That statement from Zalatoris is nothing but mealy-mouthed hogwash.

    • Mrs Zalatoris

      Aug 9, 2022 at 10:35 am

      you kiss your mom with that mouth, Vic??!

  5. Ryan Goble

    Aug 8, 2022 at 11:48 am

    You suck Will.

  6. Pingback: Caddie forced to wade through nettles after bizarre blunder at Women’s Open – GolfWRX

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19th Hole

Cam Smith enjoys meme poking fun at Rory McIlroy at latest LIV event

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The LIV Golf Series continues this week in Chicago, where the Champion Golfer of the Year Cam Smith will make his second start.

The Australian’s move to LIV has been one of the biggest stories of 2022, with Smith reportedly signing a deal worth north of $100 million with the breakaway tour.

Ahead of this week’s event in Chicago, Smith was shown a meme by the DrunkByTheTurn team, with the Aussie seemingly entertained, laughing at its content alongside fellow pro Pat Perez.

As revealed by the DrunkByTheTurn Twitter account, the meme in question was poking fun at LIV’s biggest critic Rory McIlroy.

McIlroy has continuously criticized both the LIV Golf Series and its defectors, just this week saying that he believes no LIV player should be a part of the 2023 Ryder Cup.

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19th Hole

Report: Major TV network the leading contender to strike deal for LIV Golf media rights

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The latest LIV Golf event gets underway in Chicago this week, with those looking to tune in once again having to fire up YouTube to watch the 48 professionals do battle.

LIV has yet to strike a media deal that would allow a network or streaming service to broadcast their events, and while rumors surrounding a deal with Apple were circulating, Barstool’s Dan Rapaport reported this week that they deemed LIV to be “too toxic.”

According to a report from Front Office Sports, Fox Sports is now the leading contender to acquire LIV’s U.S. media rights.

While not going into specifics on whether a deal was close to being struck with Fox, Will Staeger, LIV’s chief media officer, told FOS that they are currently in discussions with “virtually every major media company.”

“We want exposure. We want broad viewership. We want to be on a platform where viewers are accustomed to watching sports.” he added. “Golf needs it, actually. Quite honestly, listening to golf on TV gets rather boring. Because everybody says the same thing every time about everybody.”

Interestingly, Fox Sports fired Greg Norman from his announcing role back in 2016, just a year after being in the job, with the Aussie telling FOS last year that he felt that he got “rolled under the bus.”

Earlier this week, Norman revealed to Kap & J. Hood on ESPN 1000 that they were in discussion with four different networks, and it appears that Fox lead the race to land a deal that should be a game-changer for LIV.

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19th Hole

Bryson DeChambeau thanks Tiger for creating LIV Golf

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Bryson DeChambeau was one of the biggest names to jump ship in golf’s civil war, with the 29-year-old reportedly earning over $100 million to sign with LIV Golf.

The Golf Scientist will tee it up in Chicago this week for the latest LIV Golf Series event, and ahead of the 54-hole tournament, Bryson opened up on his decision to leave the PGA Tour.

“This is the biggest decision besides choosing my agent that I’ve ever made in my entire life, and I couldn’t be happier to be over here.

“I have no buyer’s remorse. I have ultimate respect for the PGA Tour and what they’ve done for my career, as I’ve said from day one, and they’ve allowed me this opportunity.”

Then, Bryson revealed that he must thank Tiger for creating the opportunity.

“I have to look back and thank Tiger for this opportunity because he’s the one that’s ultimately created this.”

Bryson didn’t go into specifics on the latter comment, however, it echoes the sentiment he shared two months ago when the Californian told media: “I have high regard for Tiger; look, this wouldn’t be existing if it weren’t for Tiger. So I have the utmost respect for what he did for the game of golf, what he did for the PGA Tour that allowed us to have this opportunity.’’

Back in July, DeChambeau also revealed that a once close relationship with Tiger had now gone cold since the PGA Tour/LIV Golf divide.

“We have been fairly close and unfortunately, we have not spoken, one day we will again, and I am always open for a conversation with anybody. I have no problem with it and I hope we can come see eye to eye on it.’’

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