Zalatoris was counted out early on, but he has continued to prove his doubters wrong. His story of success is a reminder that confidence can go along way in sports and life.
The “Imposter Syndrome” is a feeling of inadequacy or even fraudulence that people with high-achieving and successful careers often have. Zalatoris needs to conquer his “Imposter Syndrome” if he wants to reach his sky-high potential.
Will Zalatoris played down the stretch of the PGA Championship last weekend like a seasoned pro. The 25-year-old forced a playoff against Justin Thomas with two clutch putts on the 71st and 72nd holes of the event, and he came close to defeating the veteran before succumbing by one stroke in the three-hole battle.
In five of his eight major championship starts, Zalatoris has finished in the top ten. He is now ranked 14th in the Official World Golf Ranking and has firmly established himself as one of the world’s greatest ball-strikers. However, the rising superstar recently confessed that his second-place result at the PGA gave him “imposter syndrome,” a mentality he must overcome if he is to fulfill his greatest potential on Tour.
Looking back on the PGA Championship, Will Zalatoris had “imposter syndrome.”
Will Zalatoris hits his second shot on the 16th hole at Southern Hills Country Club during the final round of the 2022 PGA Championship | Getty Images/David Cannon
At the PGA Championship last weekend, Zalatoris had as good a chance as anybody to win his first major (and first victory on Tour). After a great second round, the former Wake Forest star had a 54-hole lead, and he needed just one more putt during the week to avoid a playoff and win in regulation.
However, in terms of PGA Tour experience, this is still a baby. He’s just in his second full season with the big guys in 2021-22, and he’d never seen a Tiger Woods major week up close until last weekend.
Zalatoris, to be honest, was caught up in the chaos at Southern Hills.
“You’ve heard the vets say, ‘Hey, just don’t watch him,’ and it’s like, ‘Come on, this is the first time I get to see him truly play in person and see the fans,’” Zalatoris told reporters ahead of the Charles Schwab Challenge on Wednesday, according to the New York Post.
“On Thursday and Friday, there were a lot of people.” At least in my groups, I believed they were larger than Saturday-Sunday. It was really insane. I played a practice round in front of him on Wednesday, and [hole eight] was 35 people deep. It was really ludicrous.”
Zalatoris remarked a few days after missing out on his first major that he still can’t believe how far he’s come in the golf game in such a short period of time.
“Being able to just cherish those times and sort of just be there and enjoy it, that’s why I almost had to — it almost seemed like I [had] impostor syndrome where I look back and think, ‘Wait, you were in a PGA Championship playoff?’”
Will, you are correct. You were one of them. And sooner rather than later, you’ll find yourself in comparable scenarios. On the PGA Tour, though, a happy-to-be-here attitude isn’t going to cut it.
It’s past time for Zalatoris to live up to his full potential.
Will Zalatoris has now appeared in eight big league games in his career:
T-6 • WD • MC • 2nd • 2nd • T-6 • MC • T-8
He’s an absolute stud. He’ll be a great winner. Plural.
— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelTAN) May 22, 2022
Zalatoris might be a youthful creature. In comparison to the other players in his current tier, he may be inexperienced. However, this youngster have the ability to win dozens of Tour tournaments as well as numerous major titles. That window, however, does not remain open indefinitely.
Zalatoris leads the Tour in strokes gained approaching the green and strokes gained tee to green this season. In 15 events, he has six top-10 results, including T6 and solo second in the two majors he has competed in. In just eight major starts, he has two runner-up results and five top-eight finishes.
Zalatoris may have been battling for a place on the PGA Tour on the Korn Ferry Tour only two years ago, but he’s now a top talent and the world’s highest-ranked player without a win.
The period of appreciation is passed. It’s past time for him to grasp that he, like the Justin Thomases of the world, is deserving of big championships. The floodgates will open once he overcomes that mental obstacle and wins his first trophy on Tour.
The PGA Tour provided all statistics.
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