WILL Z SPEAKS OUT
Will Zalatoris denounces ex-mentor’s profane messages toward Dan Hicks, Brad Faxon
Will Zalatoris won his first PGA Tour event in wild, dramatic fashion on Sunday at the FedEx St. Jude Championship at TPC Southwind. Three days later, Zalatoris was still giddy about his epic putting performance down the stretch and over the three-hole playoff victory against Sepp Straka, but he also attempted to extinguish one big distraction.
On Wednesday, Zalatoris released a statement to Golf Channel that denounced an awkward, expletive-filled social-media message from his former junior golf mentor directed at critics of Zalatoris’ putting.
The series of tweets from Scott Fawcett, who helped guide Zalatoris during his junior golf days and caddied for him in his 2014 U.S. Junior Amateur victory, were specifically aimed at NBC Sports commentator Dan Hicks and former tour pro and eight-time winner Brad Faxon.
The tweets were later deleted, but Justin Thomas had screenshots of the original messages and punched back on Twitter, saying, “Hey Scott. Twitter saw your incredibly egregious and aggressive tweets. Congrats on your ‘win’ but show some class and respect if you are as professional as you claim to be. Giving other coaches and those involved in golf a really bad look. Nobody likes a sore winner.”
The original tweets from Fawcett and the response from Thomas can be read here, but, warning, be careful when you click. (Fawcett joined The Loop podcast earlier this week and his comments can be heard below.)
Zalatoris has been reveling in his maiden PGA Tour victory—which was clinched with a bogey on the third playoff hole—but before the BMW Championship starts Thursday at Wilmington Country Club in Delaware, he put a stop to the conversation about the incident by releasing the statement to Golf Channel.
“Scott Fawcett is not a paid member of my team. I in no way condone or support anything that was said in those tweets. I personally reached out to Dan Hicks and Brad Faxon and echoed that I don’t condone what he said. Any interviews he’s given have been unauthorized.
“He has tried to reach out to me and I have not spoken to him. I’m thankful to him for everything he helped me with in the ups and downs in junior golf but those statements are not a reflection of my values or me.”
Fawcett is the creator of the DECADE course-management system, which is a formula based on distance, expectation, correct target, analyze, discipline and execute. He was a guest on The Loop podcast earlier this week and was asked about his social media tirade. Fawcett said several times that the tweets were meant to be jokes but also contends that he was simply sticking up for Zalatoris, someone he knows extremely well and knows is a better putter than people realize.
“Find me a single tour player that has met me in person that says I’m not a good guy and does all I can to help them,” Fawcett said on The Loop. “Go find me one, I’ll give you $1 million.”