He may not have a PGA Tour membership, he may not have won an event. But 25-year-old Will Zalatoris still found a way to clinch ‘Rookie of The Year’ honors.
Believe it or not, he’s the first non-tour member to win the award since Charles Howell III back in 2001.
After a strong year on the Korn Ferry Tour where he had 10 top-10s and a win at the TPC Colarado Championship, he earned Special Temporary status for the PGA Tour. This meant that provided he could find them, there was an unlimited number of sponsor invites for the man who many joke looks like Happy Gilmore’s caddy.
Zalatoris made the absolute most of every opportunity. In 25 PGA tour events, he made 21 cuts, and finished in the top-10 eight times. This was enough to surge him up to #31 in the World Rankings.
Through 68 measured rounds, he ranked 7th on approach, 9th in shots gained tee-to-green, and 22nd total. His brilliant year was highlighted with a second-place finish at The Masters, where he was only one shot away from matching eventual winner, Hideki Matsuyama.
Unfortunately, his appearance at the British Open, which looked to be getting off to a similarly hot start, was cut short due to an injury that he’s now fully recovered from. He’ll be ready to go at the Fortinet Championship in Napa, California, later this week.
The ceiling is scarily high for Will Zalatoris if he can improve his putting efficiency, and even if he doesn’t right away, he’s proven that there’s no moment too big. He’ll continue to rise through the ranks and it feels like it’s only a matter of time until he’s lifting PGA tour silverware.
Photo by Matthew Maxey/Icon SportswirE