Will Zalatoris commits to first event since August back injury
Since finally getting the monkey off his back with his first win, Will Zalatoris has yet to complete an event on the PGA Tour, but that will change rather soon in 2023.
The Sentry Tournament of Champions announced that Zalatoris has committed to play in the year’s first event, and Zalatoris’ first tournament since withdrawing during the third round of the BMW Championship with a back injury.
Returning to competition this January, @WillZalatoris is primed for a big 2023. Zalatoris gave fans one of the most electrifying finishes on TOUR winning the @FedExChamp in a playoff to nab his first career @PGATOUR victory. pic.twitter.com/T5GqIhDcmr— Sentry Tournament of Champions (@Sentry_TOC) December 6, 2022
Zalatoris was coming off his first win the week prior at the FedEx St. Jude Championship where he survived a memorable playoff with Sepp Straka. The win qualified him for Maui, but he likely would have qualified for the field anyway as the PGA Tour will for the first time include players who qualified for the Tour Championship.
Thanks to the win in Memphis, Zalatoris was first in the FedEx Cup standings when the injury occurred and was just four shots out of the lead when he appeared to tweak something in his back on the fourth hole at the BMW.
A PGA Tour physiotherapist came out and worked on Zalatoris for several minutes on the fifth tee as other groups were allowed to play through, but Zalatoris ultimately decided the injury was too much to endure.
It was later reported the 26-year-old suffered two herniated disks in his lower back and he withdrew from the season-ending Tour Championship and the following month’s Presidents Cup, where he figured to be a lock as one of Davis Love III’s captain’s selections. Pulling out of the Tour Championship meant, despite being third in the standings after the BMW, he would be saddled with 30th place money ($500,000) from the FedEx Cup bonus pool.
Zalatoris was present at the Presidents Cup to cheer on the U.S. team in what ended up being a 17.5 to 12.5 win for the Americans at Quail Hollow Club in September. The World No. 7 was initially included in the field for last week’s Hero World Challenge but ultimately did not compete in the Bahamas.