Will Zalatoris, The Peoples’ Champ


Curt Hastie

Will Zalatoris is a twenty-four-year-old who shocked everyone at the master’s with his great performance. Zalatoris went into his master’s debut red hot and almost took it home on Sunday. He ended the tourney only one shot back of Hideki Matsuyama leaving people shocked on his stellar performance.

Will Zalatoris played his college golf at Wake Forest where he received the Arnold Palmer scholarship for excellence on and off the golf course.  He ended up leaving Wake Forest going into his senior year to reach his dream of making the Professional Golf Association.

Zalatoris didn’t have the same story of others in his grade that he grew up playing with such as Matthew Wolfe, Colin Morikawa, and others. Zalatoris had to work and go through hard times before making his tour debut on playing tournament after tournament on the Korn Ferry Tour while others such as Wolfe and Morikawa took off on the pro circuit right away.

The Korn Ferry Tour is a mini tour such as the G- League in basketball. It is a harsh tour with a lot of traveling and not much money earned. He ended the 2019 season on the Korn Ferry with enough points to reach pro status and he took off from there.

The win moved him to first place on the Korn Ferry Tour points list and qualified him for the U.S. Open at Winged Foot. At the U.S. Open, he aced the par-3 7th hole during the first round, and tied for sixth place, at five-over par, alongside world number one Dustin Johnson; it was his first top-10 finish in a major championship. He shortly followed it up with a T8 at the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship and secured Special Temporary Member status after the Bermuda Championship in early November.

But this was just the beginning for Zalatoris and not many people saw it coming. Then came the 2021 Masters. He started the weekend off with a very solid 2- under par round. He then shot another very good round of 4- under on Friday leaving himself in a really good position going into the weekend.

The crazy thing about Will Zalatoris is he didn’t win the crowd over with his first two rounds. It was all about him being only 165 pounds crushing drivers 330 as well as blistering 8 irons into the greens from distance such as 190 yards. I talked to Dan King a fellow golf enthusiast and he said, “Zalatoris won the peoples heart with his distance and smooth charisma throughout the week. People were waiting and wondering if he could keep up the great play being his first master’s ever and if anything, he got better as the week went on. It was really exciting to watch and I see bright things in his future.”

After his decent day on Saturday shooting a fine 1-under par he found himself four back of the lead after Hideki Matsuyama unreal round of 65. But he didn’t give up and played stellar the last day shooting a two under round leaving him to miss the Hideki by only one stroke.

When they asked him how he felt after the round he said, “It feels absolutely insane. I have been dreaming about this moment for 20 years. I never would of thought coming into this tournament and doing what I did I would find myself mad about losing by one and thinking about one shot I could have got back and things would have been different.”

Will Zalatoris is a young stud and we all need to watch this guy grow up and take on the challenge of becoming a Major winner one day. I personally think he will one day win the master’s after seeing him put on that good of show on his debut. In all it was a success, he got to show the world how much heart and drive he has and that he can be a master’s Champ one day in the near future.