While Will Zalatores is still recovering from a back injury at the end of the season, fans of the 26-year-old are getting an in-depth look at his philosophies, mentality, personal life and more thanks to a new interview.
Zalatoris won his first tour last month after a long season of Approximatelyjumped to the top of the FedExCup standings before a back injury forced him to withdraw from the BMW Championship and Tour Championship and dashed any hopes of his participation in the Presidents Cup next week.
This does not mean that he went silent while recovering.
With more free time on his hands, Zalatoris recently sat down to interview journalist Graham Bensinger on his show “In Depth with Graham Bensinger.” The two touched on typical topics you’d find in an interview: his fiancée, sacrifices for his sport, eating meals, and banter, but the interview is far from fluff. In particular, Bensinger asked about Wake Forest alum’s decision to turn down competitor LIV Golf, play with Tiger Woods, and why Zalatoris thinks Rory McIlroy should be president – if he is could Be the boss.
On the current PGA Tour against the LIV Golf saga…
Of course, the biggest golf story of the year is the LIV Junior Golf League, powered by Saudi Arabia.
It was rumored that Zalatoris, like many other Tour players, was considering a 54-hole series bid, which is full of money. Instead, he released a statement in June saying he was “fully committed” to both the tour and the DP World Tour. He repeated this with Bensinger explaining his decision.
“If you look at the guys who are gone — and I have no problem with them going, I mean everyone can make their own decisions — there’s no disrespect for them at all, but a lot of them are older or have been injured or have been on the road for more than 20 years,” Zalatores said. . “They don’t want to do that anymore, they want to play for two more years and have a nice nest egg and call it quits.”
“I’ve never done this for money – ever,” he continued. “If the US Open had a $100,000 purse, I would still go to the US Open.”
The self-proclaimed senior specialist has backed his specialty, finishing second in three of his nine major tournament matches, and isn’t about to give up the chance to continue striving for that goal.
“I’m in this to win a major,” he said. “This is my career goal.”
LIV’s request for golf’s official world ranking points is currently under consideration, but after chasing that dream for “20 years,” it won’t be giving up the majors for the money.
“There is no amount of money, for me, that can make me give up on my dreams, especially with the amount of silver I have around my house now,” Zalatores said. “I would happily exchange them all for one win.”
Outside of actual competition, the big-ticket topic for LIV is its backers, the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, and whether it is ethical to accept money from the state.
“The moral and ethical aspect of that is obviously very difficult, which is why so many of us want to leave it as is and don’t want any part of it,” Zlatores said, but he asks publicly with Bensinger, “If we’re independent contractors, why can’t we do both?” “
Zalatoris believes that if he has to guess, at some point players will be able to do both, but it’s still “through and across the PGA Tour.” It’s the history he cares more about than money, than the constant struggle for bigger wallets.
“I haven’t won yet, and I’ve won over $10 million on the tour.” This is the response that Zalatoris gave when asked why he didn’t want to have guaranteed millions in LIV. “If I sit there and say I feel like I haven’t been paid enough as a PGA Tour pro, what does that say about me? The money that’s being given to these people now, it’s just more money. It’s not life-changing money, it’s more than that.”
Later on, Zalatoris made the main point when talking about the future of the sport and the changes the Tour is making to counteract LIV’s presence.
“I couldn’t be happier with what will happen to the Tour over the next few years,” said the Players Advisory Council (PAC) member. “We looked at the forecast, and in 2025, you could win $3 million and not keep your card. How can you argue being underpaid at that point? I think the more and more we talk about how to make the PGA Tour better, the more transparent it is, For me, it’s the best job in the world.”
If the two rounds end up coexisting in a peaceful manner, Zalatoris is outspoken about his openness to future opportunities.
“If they get the golf world ranking points and, let’s say, the top 48 players in the world are playing, I will hurt myself not playing against the best players in the world, but at the same time, I will never jeopardize my PGA Tour membership and jeopardize the majors, first and foremost , “
On Tiger Woods and the nickname “goat” hunt…
Zalatoris isn’t focused on a big, great goal, like being the best player ever. He is simply focused on his next goal: to win a major championship. So, it comes as no surprise that he wants to play with Tiger Woods before his retirement.
“I’d like to play Tiger at least once before it’s over, just to do it,” Zalatores said of Woods.
The young pistol admits he had a selfish desire for Woods to get a golf cart excused for his injuries so he could play more: “Dude, get in a cart. I’m going to play with you. I want to see you when you’re 50. You’ve proven people wrong times not.” Counted, like back from injuries, I love, Get into the damn cart. “
On the leadership of Rory McIlroy…
While they never had the opportunity to play together on a competitive round of golf, Zalatoris was quick to praise Rory McIlroy for his Tour leadership.
“If Rory had been born in the United States, I would vote him for president because he is just one of the most intelligent, well-spoken and introspective people I have ever met,” Zalatores said of a Northern Irishman. “I loved him growing up, watching him play, but now that I get to know him and see how good a goalkeeper he was for the game, it’s so amazing. We are fortunate to have a guy like this around.”
Most of Zalatoris’ interactions with McIlroy were at the PAC or at the pass at the player’s dinner, but he and the rest of the Tour players listen when their leader speaks.
“He only thinks of the general interests,” Zlatoris explained. “I guarantee you 75% of the guys on the tour probably look at what Rory says and then just try to put it in their own words just because it’s so well thought out and so well said. So, he always gets my vote.”