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PGA Will Zalatoris: Wouldn’t move to LIV for ‘all the money in the world’

Calling the PGA Tour the best tour in the world and saying the golf world needed to “let the dust settle,” up-and-comer Will Zalatoris reaffirmed his commitment to the PGA over the LIV Golf Invitational Series on Tuesday.

Zalatoris discussed the fact that even if LIV players are not banned from majors, it will become immensely harder for younger LIV players to qualify as they miss out on chances to accrue Official World Golf Rankings points. The OWGR is one factor in determining who qualifies for the four majors.

For Zalatoris — and likely many others — major titles are the ultimate goal, not prize money.

“If you gave me all the money in the world tomorrow, I’d still be doing the exact same thing,” Zalatoris said ahead of this week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit. “Like I said, I’ve wanted to win a major my entire life and I’ve wanted to play out here.”

Zalatoris said he doesn’t want to tell others how to live their lives, but he doesn’t agree with the move many have made to jump ship to the Saudi-financed LIV circuit, where purses are higher in exchange for less golf. Each tournament is 54 holes and only eight are scheduled for the inaugural season, with plans to grow to 14 events down the road.

The world No. 13 was asked about the shorter format, but he instead pointed to the closed nature of the “invitational” series.

“I think the biggest thing that I would say is not even in regards to the amount of holes that are played, but I would say that any person on these grounds could have (Monday qualified) yesterday and won this golf tournament, and over there it’s the same 48 guys playing over and over and over,” Zalatoris said. “You know, this is a pure meritocracy and I’m sure you could argue there’s a meritocracy to being part of LIV, but that’s their decision for you to play there.

“They’re the ones offering you the money to play. Here it’s earned and I think that’s the biggest difference and I think that’s something that right now with no World Golf Ranking points, I think that’s why a lot of the top guys don’t have a lot of interest, because we want to be part of majors, we want to win major championships.”

The 25-year-old described himself as “very pro-PGA Tour,” and as a member of its Player Advisory Council, he has participated in many internal conversations about LIV’s threat to the tour.

“It’s a wild time for the PGA Tour and I guess golf as a whole,” he said, “but the changes that I think are going to happen and everything that’s going to come down the road is only going to make us stronger.”

It’s also been a wild time personally for the rising star, who has yet to break through and win a PGA Tour event but has experienced close calls at the majors. After placing second to Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama in his Masters debut in 2021, Zalatoris lost a playoff to Justin Thomas at the PGA Championship in May and tied for second at the U.S. Open, one stroke behind winner Matt Fitzpatrick of England.

“Yeah, obviously I’ve been really close to getting that first win, knocked on the door a bunch. Just got to keep doing what we’re doing. Game’s been feeling really good. I think everything has been really starting to click, especially after this week off. We had some really good work at home and fully rested coming up for a pretty good stretch of golf coming up. Looking forward to being a part of my first FedEx Cup Playoffs and hopefully making a nice run.”

–Field Level Media

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