GREENSBORO, N.C. — While Will Zalatoris tried to answer the autograph requests of consecutive Windham Championship spectators after completing his third round Saturday, a few feet away, coach-caddy Josh Gregory explained what he tried to convey during his emergency fill-in role. .
“I hope I smile a little,” Gregory said. “Most of all, he had to laugh and smile. He needed to relax. And I think it’s just determination. I’m as positive for Coach as I can be, and I’ve been really good at it.
It was a stark contrast to the events that followed Zalatoris’ previous round, when he fired caddy Ryan Goble mid-tournament at Sedgefield Country Club and called it a “tough decision”. I had to work on my golf career.
The former Wake Forest star and one of the top-ranked players in the world shot a 4-under 66 to improve to a third-round 7 for the tournament, five strokes clear of leaders Sungjae Im and Brandon Wu. of The third round was blocked by the storm Continues Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 am.
Zalatoris made eight birdies on the day, recovered from a double bogey on the second hole and made two bogeys on the back nine to put the airline on the bag for the first time with the 47-year-old Gregory, a short-game coach.
Zalatoris, 25, said Goble was his only caddy on the sanctioned professional tour, and “he’s basically been my best friend for the last three years.” But it’s getting a little too healthy for both of us, he added, and it’s clearly hurting their relationship — a partnership that includes eight 10-under finishes at the PGA Championship and the US Open. Over $6.6 million was earned this season.
“We had a difficult month together, and it was starting to affect our relationship,” Zalatoris said. “I know men say that when they break up, but it really was. We were people who liked to have dinner together and what happened on the course was starting to bleed off the course, and that’s not what you want.
Zalatoris said Joel Stock will serve him in next week’s FedEx Cup playoffs in Memphis. Gregory said he pulled a layup at the Phoenix Open in February as a fill-in for Henrik Norland.
“It was a time of change,” Gregory said of the split between Zalatoris and Goble. “And really, it’s what’s best for both of them. Anyway, change was coming, and it was time to move on and rip off the Band-Aid.
Zalatoris started the tournament at 3 under in the third round, six shots out of the lead. Then, a moment off the tee left him 1 down with a double bogey on the second hole.
“Even when he made double on the second hole, he said, ‘Hey, let’s go see how many birdies we can make. Let’s have fun,’ said Gregory. “And that’s what he needs. And then it takes a little more commitment, a little more faith in the decisions. So just tell him how good he is. It’s very easy when you hold the bag. He is very good.”
Adam Smith is a sports reporter for the Burlington Times-News and USA TODAY Network. You can reach him by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @adam_smithTN.