a somber moment

Riviera runner-up Will Zalatoris emotionally shares that a family member died earlier in the week

February 18, 2024
2020887022

Harry How

Will Zalatoris was in the hunt late Sunday at the Genesis Invitational, looking to capture his second PGA Tour victory. But Hideki Matsuyama bulldozed the field with six back-nine birdies to shoot 62 and take the title.

Zalatoris shot 69 and tied for second place with Luke List, three behind Matsuyama.

The 27-year-old from Texas stepped to the microphone to speak with the media to put a bow on the week, one that included a second-round hole in one that gave both him and his caddie cars, and his best finish since winning the FedEx St. Jude Championship in 2022.

A suddenly somber Zalatoris then shared news that he had been holding in for three days.

“I didn’t say anything all week,” he said. “I lost a family member on Thursday and … she was with me all week. Pretty special to make the hole-in-one on Friday after I found out on Thursday.

“She was with me all week.”

Zalatoris did not share any more details other than that “it was very unexpected.” His family was not at Riviera because they were tending to the matter—and Zalatoris is likely to join them soon—but he did say that he knows they’re proud of him for the way he fought late into the final round.

“Just shows you life’s short and appreciate the moments,” he said. “How lucky I am to be out here.”

Zalatoris shot a third-round 65 to jump into contention heading into the final round. He got to three under on Sunday after 13 holes but made a bogey on the par-4 15th hole, then failed to make birdie on the par-5 17th hole to catch Matsuyama.

He had microdiscectomy surgery last spring and missed the remainder of the PGA Tour season. In four starts this season he has improved each week, starting with a missed cut at the Sony Open, a T-34 at the American Express, a T-13 at the Farmers Insurance Open and now a tie for second place at the Genesis Invitational.