New PGA Tour winner Will Zalatoris took inspiration from Steph Curry, receives Adam Sandler praise

By Sports Desk August 15, 2022

Will Zalatoris took inspiration from Steph Curry and received congratulations from movie star Adam Sandler after getting the monkey off his back with a memorable first PGA Tour triumph.

Having made a terrific clutch par at the final hole, Zalatoris defeated Sepp Straka in an eventful play-off to win the FedEx St. Jude Championship on Sunday.

After sinking his left-to-right putt from 10 feet at his 72nd hole, Zalatoris yelled "what are they gonna say now?" in a seeming reference to those who have questioned whether he has a strong enough putting game to win the big tournaments.

Zalatoris, who grew up in the Bay Area and later moved to Dallas, said it was an acknowledgement to Golden State Warriors star Curry, a big golf fan himself, who had uttered the same words when his team won the NBA title.

"I did say that," said Zalatoris.

"Yeah, you know, I'm a big Warriors fan and obviously Steph, he's a Cal Club guy, he's a pretty big inspiration obviously. I follow the Warriors like crazy and when he said that, it kind of related to kind of my journey so far.

"So being that close and then kind of being written off here and there and then obviously finally pulling off, it was – I actually can't believe I said that actually."

Zalatoris had been in danger of becoming golf's nearly man having lost play-offs at the Farmers Insurance Open and US PGA Championship, and tied for second at the U.S. Open.

"Yeah, it's kind of hard to say 'about time' when it's your second year on Tour, but about time," he added.

Zalatoris' win was made all the more impressive by the fact he had gone through the upheaval of changing caddies.

He opted to part with Ryan Goble midway through last week's Wyndham Championship, explaining how he did not want the stress of professional golf to put a strain on their friendship.

In his place came the experienced Joel Stock, who Zalatoris said had helped keep him in the moment.

"We tried to communicate as much as we possibly could Monday through Wednesday to make this adjustment as easy as possible," he said, 

"But you never know what it's going to be like until you're in the heat of the moment. Joel was really playing more sports psychologist today. He was awesome. He was ripping dad jokes the entire day to try to keep it loose, and they're terrible but it gave us some pretty good laughs and kept it light.

"When the moment needed to be serious he told me to focus on my breathing. He did an amazing job."

And after his special win, Zalatoris earned recognition from Sandler, a man who has previously interacted with the 25-year-old.

It was noted how Zalatoris bears a resemblance to the caddy for Sandler's 'Happy Gilmore' character.

Posting on Twitter, Sandler wrote: " Congrats Will! I’m happy for you! Happy’s happy for you! Enjoy it all!"

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