With just one Open Championship appearance under his size-30 belt, Will Zalatoris has yet to compete in a major championship on the Old Course. And until this week, he hadn’t even hit a golf shot on the iconic St. Andrews layout.
But Zalatoris, in a way, is already familiar with the Home of Golf – or at least four of the holes.
Zalatoris lives in Dallas, where there is a golf course called Tribute Golf Links, which features 18 replica holes from Scottish gems, including Nos. 1, 11, 17 and 18 from the Old Course.
“They put up kind of a shed for the 17th hole, and we would be hitting over the shed,” Zalatoris said.
This week Zalatoris will be hitting over the real thing, the famous Old Course Hotel that hugs the inside of the right dogleg on the Road Hole, the most difficult par-4 in major-championship golf.
“It's amazing how you can really hit a shot left of the Old Course Hotel logo, and if it's cutting, it's in the fairway,” Zalatoris said, “and you can also hit one high and about 30 feet right of that logo and still be almost in the exact same spot. It's pretty unique. I love being able to hit that burning cut, so I will never say that hitting over a hotel is an ideal look for me.
“But that shot actually sets up for me pretty well.”