Will Zalatoris' tussle with Royal St. George's thick rough resulted in an injury.
The wiry Texan withdrew before the start of the second round of The Open because of a back injury, he confirmed on Instagram.
Zalatoris, who shot 1-under 69 in the opening round, said that he injured himself while trying to hack out of the hay right of the 15th fairway. After using all of his strength to advance his ball, Zalatoris appeared to bend over in discomfort. He said Friday that the shot sent a “tingling” down his leg and that he’s been advised to not risk further injury to his back.
Zalatoris said he initially thought about pulling out of the event immediately afterward, but that he didn’t want to spoil his Open debut. After the hack-out on the 15th hole, he bounced back with a birdie on the next but bogeyed the last two – including a 1-foot miss on the 17th hole.
“Considering this is my first Open,” he wrote, “I felt like I needed to finish the round (even if it meant embarrassing myself a little at the end ha!)”
Zalatoris said that he attempted to hit balls and work out Friday morning but showed little improvement, adding that he was “gutted” to not continue in the year’s final major. He said he looked forward to returning to competition “as soon as I can.”
Up to 30th in the world, Zalatoris has enjoyed a strong run of form in the majors, finishing runner-up at the Masters and tying for eighth at the PGA Championship. He also shared sixth place at the 2020 U.S. Open.
Prior to his withdrawal, Zalatoris was just five shots off the Open lead after the first round.
Here is Zalatoris' full statement regarding his WD: