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‘I can’t believe I said that’ – Will Zalatoris blasted critics after key moment in Memphis win

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So often the nearly man, Will Zalatoris (see his winning WITB here) grabbed his first PGA Tour victory on Sunday evening with an enthralling playoff win over Sepp Straka at the FedEx St. Jude Championship.

On multiple occasions, it seemed like that maiden victory would evade Zalatoris once again, with the 25-year-old needing to dig deep to keep his chances alive down the stretch in Memphis.

The Californian eventually prevailed in a playoff, where a bogey was good enough to beat Straka, who had found the water on the short par three 11th hole, but it was the final hole in regulation that brought out more emotion from Zalatoris than any other.

After finding trouble on his 72nd hole. Zalatoris faced a do or die 10 foot par putt. Having received plenty of questions and criticism over his unique putting stroke since being on Tour, the 25-year-old poured the putt into the middle of the cup and then used a Steph Curry line to hit out at any critics, shouting: “What are they going to say now!?”

Speaking following his round, Zalatoris explained:

“You know, I’m a big Warriors fan and obviously Steph, he’s a Cal club guy, he’s a pretty big inspiration obviously. I follow the Warriors like crazy and when he said that, it kind of related to kind of my journey so far. So being that close and then kind of being written off here and there and then obviously finally pulling it off, it was – I actually can’t believe I said that. At least it wasn’t something worse.”

After proving he can deliver when it matters, it won’t be any surprise to anyone if the floodgates are now open for Zalatoris.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Pingback: Will Zalatoris condemns former mentor’s X-Rated attack on NBC pair – GolfWRX

  2. Jolter

    Aug 15, 2022 at 1:41 pm

    Well golf is golf, and it took some time for him to finally win. Let’s see how long it takes for number 2 and the announcers are right, as I have watched him play over the year in that he does have a balky putter.

  3. Pingback: PGA Tour chief referee explains decision to penalize Cam Smith before Memphis final round – GolfWRX

  4. LOLZ

    Aug 15, 2022 at 7:47 am

    Asterisk win. Had help from the rules official.

    • CRABGRASS

      Aug 15, 2022 at 11:42 am

      And, the 30 minutes he took to play his 3rd shot while making his opponent wait around and play out of turn.

    • VC

      Aug 15, 2022 at 11:43 am

      Did they cheat?

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19th Hole

‘What’s going on?’ – Justin Thomas left frustrated with two officials over ruling at Hero

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During Thursday’s first round of the Hero World Challenge, Justin Thomas called for a rules official and subsequently, a second opinion, on the par-5 9th at Albany Golf Club.

The players were playing lift-clean-and-place, and Thomas’ ball came to rest about 5o yards short of the green in an area where it was difficult to identify if the ball was sitting in the fairway or the rough. The ball had gathered some mud, so if the rules official had decided that his ball was in fact in the rough, he would have to hit a pretty difficult shot given the condition on his golf ball.

“Basically, what’s going on?” Thomas asked the official.

The official told Thomas that the change of color in the grass was indicative of the change of fairway to rough, and therefore he would have to hit his ball as it lied. Thomas argued that the grass was cut to the same length in both spots, therefore the color didn’t matter.

“But you see, what I’m saying, this is also beat down from the carts, but look at how much longer this is than this,” he said before walking over to the thicker grass. “Like see, this is the same height [where his ball was and the apparent fairway.] I totally see it’s down grain and it’s a totally different color, but … the change of the length of grass is just what kind of confused me.”

After relief was denied by the official, “JT” called for a second opinion. While waiting for another official to show up, Thomas was heard saying to his caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay, ““It’s the same exact length, this is not rough.”

When the second rules official came over, he said: “I can see the cutline right here,” and pointed to the different shades of grass that the other official mentioned.

Thomas accepted the decision.

Interestingly, announcer Paul Azinger shared his opinion that the second rules official almost never will disagree with the first rules official’s ruling.

“That second opinion almost never works,” Azinger said to Dan Hicks during the broadcast.

“Really?” Hicks asked.

“Never,” Azinger said. “Very rarely will an official go against another official.”

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19th Hole

Data shows how much more difficult green become as the day progresses

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For many a golf bettor, betting on the first round leader of any tournament revolves around the early starters.

Even a cursory look at this week’s Australian Open shows the morning wave averaging 1.73 shots better than the afternoon players, resulting in 18 early starters finishing in the top-10 by the end of the day, including current leader David Micheluzzi.

However, over on the South African Open, the roles are reversed, with current leader Thirston Lawrence taking up one of 15 places on the front page of leaderboard for the late starters, who shot around half-a-shot less than the morning groups.

Naturally, there are many factors – wind, temperature, dew, grass-types and, potentially, overall quality of the groupings, but these are variables that can change from day to day.

Step in Lou Stagner, data lead of Arccos Golf and all-round numbers guru.

Stagner does not deal in emotion or factors that cannot be measured. It’s facts, figures and that’s your lot!

He will tell you that from the fairway, 80-yards from the pin, professionals simply don’t get as close as many believe:

On Wednesday, the man who once built a Lego model of Augusta #12, tweeted a table showing the variance in putts made by PGA Tour members under morning and afternoon conditions.

Taking stats over 17 years, the table shows an advantage to the early starters, not by much, but enough to consider.

There are plenty of places to take the stats, with a few respondents asking for a table on grass types through the day – Bent v Bermuda v POA – and that will probably turn up on Stanger’s twitter feed soon.

Of course, on a Sunday, later starters have the pressure of trying to win a tournament, which is why we tend to see flashy rounds from those a few off the pace on Payday, but it is enough to consider when trying to get that illusive three-figure first (or second) round leader.

Either way, two-time major champion, and regular tweeter Justin Thomas, decided this was his chance to get in an early excuse when he’s off late in the day.

Make of what you will. Perhaps the stats will one day include how many of these are for par saves against birdie putts, or is that too much?

Either way, Stagner continues to bombard us with stats that delight and entertain, and that can be no bad thing. Unless you are a buddy of Lou’s…

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19th Hole

Cam Smith fumes at ‘pretty s****y’ opening round at Australian Open

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After an incredible week at the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship, Cameron Smith is off to a rough start at the Australian Open. The Champion Golfer of the Year struggled to hit fairways all day long and finished his round at +1 which is eight shots back of first-round leader David Micheluzzi (-7).

Smith, who received a massive ovation from the crowd, was extremely displeased, calling his play “pretty shitty” as he went from his post-round press conference to the practice range. The 29-year-old also said it was “as bad as I’ve played in a long time”.

“I don’t think it was a mixed bag, I think it was all rubbish to be honest,”

“Maybe some delayed tiredness, maybe. I did feel a little bit foggy out there at times, but it’s not really an excuse, it’s my job to do all that stuff.”

Despite the uninspiring round, the world number three still feels as if he can get back into the event and contend.

“It’s not like I don’t know how to play golf, it was just a bit of a bad day.”

“I’ve just got a few things to clean up, I think. Like I said last week [at the Australian PGA Championship], I felt as though the golf got better every day.”

The Aussie is incredible at recovery shots and finding his way out of trouble. But if he wants to be the first player to win the Australian PGA and Australian Open in the same season since 2011, he needs to start putting the ball in the fairway.

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