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Will Zalatoris WDs from CJ Cup Byron Nelson

April 30, 2024

Ben Jared

Will Zalatoris has withdrawn from the CJ Cup Byron Nelson.

Initially there was no reason given to Zalatoris’ decision, announced by the PGA Tour’s communications team. However, Zalatoris later posted on social media that he suffered a "flare-up" of the back problems that sidelined him for the entire 2023 season.

“My back needs some rest and recovery. I am ahead of schedule according to my doctors, but unfortunately the first six months back are the most important for the longterm health of my back," Zalatoris wrote on Instagram. "I need to be prudent to make sure I don’t miss a big chunk of time again. I hate that a flare-up happened during one of my favorite weeks all year, but knew something like this was a possibility early on in my return to golf.”

Zalatoris had played in the past three tour events—including last week’s team competition, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, where he and teammate Sahith Theegala missed the cut. He had been scheduled to speak to the media on Wednesday, but is no longer on the list.

It is a blow to tournament organizers, who are losing their second hometown star. World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler is always passing on the Dallas event as he and his wife prepare for the birth of their first child. The Nelson has just three players in the Official World Golf Ranking’s top 30 in the field.

Zalatoris, 27, has enjoyed a solid comeback year after missing 2023 due to back surgery. Zalatoris finished in a tie for second at the Genesis Invitational, with a top-five finish last month at Bay Hill and a T-9 three weeks back at the Masters. He’s currently 16th in the FedEx Cup and 30th in the OWGR.

Nick Watney will replace Zalatoris in the field.