How Will Zalatoris overcame his self-described ‘rut’

Will Zalatoris said he learned a lot about his game over the past few months.

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Will Zalatoris made headlines last week when he announced he was parting ways with his longtime caddie and “brother for life,” Ryan Goble, in the middle of the Wyndham Championship.

Zalatoris, currently ranked 14th in the world, has become one of the game’s most consistent performers in major championships without actually winning one.

Starting at the 2020 U.S. Open, where he finished T6, Zalatoris has posted five additional top-8 finishes in the seven majors he’s played (he withdrew from the 2021 Open Championship).

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But after finishing T2 at the U.S. Open in June, Zalatoris’ results plateaued a bit — at least relatively speaking. He hasn’t finished higher than T21 since.

But this week’s FedEx St. Jude Championship appears to be a different story through 36 holes. After firing a second-round 63 on Friday to get into the mix in Memphis, Zalatoris admitted that his game was in need of a change, even apart from the caddie swap.

“I’ve been close all year and I think that over the last month I’ve learned a lot about my game,” he said. “I think, if anything, I kind of fell into a little bit of a rut of honestly playing to not make mistakes and now I’m starting to get a lot more aggressive in terms of picking my targets and going to them. I was starting to get into a little bit of a rut where I was shaping shots off of trouble and trying to veer away from them.”

Zalatoris’ strategy certainly paid off in the second round, in which he carded seven birdies and zero bogeys.

“Now I’m kind of getting back into picking my target and going forward,” he said.

Zalatrois’ revelation is a lesson for golfers at every level. Focus on where you want to go, and not on what you’re trying to avoid.

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