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
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2 HL

Irons: Mizuno MP-H4 3-iron, Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5