How Will Zalatoris Is On Brink Of Ending 30-Year Curse

The talented American looks set to become the PGA Tour's first 'Z' winner in 30 years

Will Zalatoris pictured
(Image credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

It has been 30 years since a player with a last name starting with “Z” won a PGA Tour event – specifically, Canada’s Richard Zokol at the 1992 Greater Milwaukee Open. 

Will Zalatoris nearly ended that drought at the Farmers Insurance Open before losing the first hole of the playoff to Luke List.

Even so, Zalatoris’ breakthrough win on the PGA Tour seems imminent. He now has consecutive top 10 finishes and also has a couple of top 20 finishes in his first seven starts this season, proving that last year’s runner-up at The Masters was no fluke.

Meanwhile, he can go really low, having set course records twice this season – an 11-under 61 in the second round of the Sanderson Farms Championship at the Country Club of Jackson, and an 11-under 61 during the second round of The American Express on the Nicklaus Tournament Course.

Just as telling, he leads the Tour in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (2.094 strokes per round) and Strokes Gained: Approach the Green (1.237) and is ranked fifth in Strokes Gained: Total (1.899). Ranked 17th in the FedExCup standings, Zalatoris had planned to enter the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am until forced to withdraw after testing positive for Covid-19.

If he keeps up the good play once he returns, it’s only a matter of time until he becomes the eighth golfer overall with a last name starting with “Z” to become a Tour winner.

No surprise who has the most wins of that group – Fuzzy Zoeller. The two-time major winner has 10 career TOUR wins, his last one coming in 1986. Larry Ziegler, Kermit Zarley and Al Zimmerman each have three wins apiece, while Zokol, Steve Zappe and Eldred Zimmerman have one win each.

At age 25, Zalatoris is making a splash and playing his way into contention on a regular basis. He’s also making a run at a spot on this year’s United States roster at the Presidents Cup; he’s currently 13th in points as of February 1. The only time he finishes last now is when player introductions are made in alphabetical order.

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Elliott Heath
Elliott Heath

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as three Open Championships including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 4-6. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Honma TR20

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

2 iron: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x