Will Zalatoris embraces major tests; ‘we only get four of them a year’
TULSA, Okla. – Will Zalatoris, fresh off a Friday 65 to take the outright lead at Southern Hills, has not been shy about his love for major championships.
“They’re tough golf courses that allow my ball-striking to really give me the best chances,” Zalatoris said after his second round at the PGA Championship. “Obviously these greens aren’t easy, but hitting them on the right tiers and being able to have the 15- to 25-footers where I’m not going up and down slopes is huge.”
Zalatoris has teed it up in seven majors, but he had to withdraw from the 2021 Open Championship prior to his second round due to injury. In the other six, Zalatoris has four top-10s, including a runner-up finish at the 2021 Masters.
He chalks his success in the game’s biggest events up to his mindset as much as his ball-striking.
“I think I’ve kind of had an attitude with the majors, especially since the Masters, where I wanted to enjoy the experience as much as I could,” Zalatoris said. “Looking back 20 years from now I don’t want to regret my attitude or anything like that.
“So I just make sure that after really every single shot I hit, it’s just – I don’t want to say life or death, but make sure I’m fully committed to everything that I do because we only get four of them a year.”
With the wind gusting upward of 30 mph Friday morning and dying down to a light breeze in the afternoon, Southern Hills played much easier for Zalatoris once he headed to the back nine.
“I knew it was going to calm down a little bit in the afternoon,” Zalatoris said. “I didn’t think it was going to calm down this much. We lucked out with the draw, for sure. I played the last eight holes with not much wind, but take it when you can get it.”
Southern Hills has hosted seven major championships – four PGA Championships and three U.S. Opens – and each time the eventual winner had at least a share of the 36-hole lead.
If that trend continues, Zalatoris would have an inaugural PGA Tour win for the ages, but he’s not getting ahead of himself at the halfway point.
“I’ve got a long 36 holes ahead of me,” Zalatoris said. “I think history to me, it is what it is, but I’m going to go out and do my job, and hopefully it’s enough at the end.”