Will Zalatoris on the Official World Golf Ranking’s viability: ‘It kind of is what it is’

Will Zalatoris is slowly gaining his form back.

The 27-year-old made his return to the golf world in December at the Hero World Challenge after missing most of back year following back surgery. In his latest start at the Genesis Invitational, he finished T-2, and he has slowly been trending in the right direction in all four starts this year.

He has gone MC, T-34. T-13 and T-2. He heads into the Arnold Palmer Invitational with plenty of momentum to take on Bay Hill in Orlando, and the tournament means a bit more to him with his connections to The King.

“Even though I never got to meet (Arnold Palmer), the guy’s meant a lot to me personally and my career and led me to Wake Forest,” Zalatoris said. “And even though it’s been a lot of — the guy’s meant a lot to my career — I met my wife at Wake Forest. So it’s just kind of a fun week to come here and spend some time with Amy (Saunders) and the family.”

In three starts at the API, Zalatoris’ best finish is a T-10 in 2021, his debut at the event.

As far as finding his form, Zalatoris said he thinks his body is ahead of schedule, and he’s slowly seeing his speed come back.

But the most interesting thing he said Tuesday in his pre-tournament press conference was in regard to the Official World Golf Ranking. Zalatoris was asked about the competition on the PGA Tour this season since the average ranking of winners (not including Nick Dunlap) is 73.

“Yeah, the competition is obviously very stiff, there’s no question about it,” Zalatoris said. “We’ve had quite a few first-time winners on Tour this year. You’ve got some tenured guys that are contending week in, week out. The official World Golf Ranking is what it is right now.”

And quickly, a follow-up was asked after Zalatoris’ answer regarding the OWGR. How viable is the ranking system, which Tuesday made further headlines after LIV Golf withdrew its application for points.

“You know, it kind of is what it is,” Zalatoris said. “You see what Joaquin (Niemann)’s done this year, and he’s 73rd in the world. I’m not a guy who is on the policy board or involved with those rankings, but the guy’s played some really good golf. I think, you know, having to get a special exemption from Augusta, you know, it’s just, there’s some really good players, and there’s some guys that have gone around the world and played really good golf and I think that’s something that, once we get to the majors, it will be really fun to have us all back together. But, I know that that’s kind of the utopian goal for all of us right now is to have the best players in the world play week in, week out.”

In the discourse between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, plenty of conversation has revolved around world ranking points. Only four LIV players are ranked in the top 50, with three of those having won majors in the past two years. Niemann, who has won two of the first three LIV events of the year, is in two of the four majors (Masters and PGA Championship) in 2024 thanks to special exemptions and a third (Open Championship) thanks to a win on the DP World Tour.

However, Zalatoris wants the best players to play together every week again, even if he believes most of them still play for the PGA Tour.

“We’ll see what happens going forward,” Zalatoris said. “I don’t have the fix for it. I know some guys have voiced their opinions on it. I like staying out of that stuff. Right now, it’s in an interesting position, I’ll leave it at that.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek