ZALATORIS: You know what, it feels like
it's been five minutes, to be honest with you.
This is the one I've always wanted to win. You know, making it when I was 12, it was a
big deal. And just that feeling of just
satisfaction of just making it. And then
I guess six years later now I'm winning it.
You know, I really just can't put it
into words. You know, every one means a
lot to you, winning the States Texas Amateur and the Trans‑Miss Championship
it's just been a wonderful summer. But
this is the one that really pushed me to play golf. And I really, really wanted to win this, not
just this week but the times that I've been here, and this is the first week
that I really felt like I can do it.
Emotions are running like crazy.
THE MODERATOR: You had 12 birdies and an eagle today, and
Davis had nine birdies. I mean you guys
were both playing well.
WILLIAM ZALATORIS: Yeah.
THE MODERATOR: All square at the turn after 18 holes. At that break after you birdied 18 to pull
all square, how important was that birdie just to kind of get that, be all square
WILLIAM ZALATORIS: You know, it did mean a lot, having a little
bit of momentum. That was awesome, just
back and forth. He was two up, one
back. I was one up at one point. It was just back and forth. And this afternoon I really played the round
of my life.
You know, I haven't hit the ball or
putted that well ever in one round together.
And that's even ‑‑ I can even say that this round this afternoon
was better than the 59 that I shot in March.
That round today, on that golf course, under that type of pressure,
that's the best round of my life today.
THE MODERATOR: Tell us a little bit about the round of your
life, shots of your life. So I mean it
was looking pretty good for you after the par‑5, 13 when Davis didn't convert
that birdie. But then obviously jarring
the shot on 14 really kind of sealed it.
We understand you had 119 yards.
WILLIAM ZALATORIS: 119 yards.
Scott, my caddie, kept me in line this week. Just anything inside, if you have a pitching
wedge, you're going right at it. No
questions asked. Fire right at that pin,
and that's a tough pin. If I miss that
thing left, that's 20 yards off.
You know, that pin actually where it
is is where the grain, where it feeds down to kind of a collection area. It's right on that edge. So if I miss the thing barely left, it's
gone. And I'm most likely going to lose
the hole and I go for dormie or two up.
And you know, that happened to me, actually, against Curtis yesterday
afternoon, said, hey, looks pretty good.
I can win here and keep dragging the ball and next thing you know, I'm
going all the way to 18.
All week we tried to stay with the
56 degree. We called it three‑quarter
ripper where just take a little bit off of it and put a lot of spin on it. But these greens were holding so there was no
fear of spinning it back or anything like that.
Just trying to get it to land as soft as possible. And I don't really know where it landed, but
apparently it landed about two feet from the hole and went straight in.
That's the shot I'll never
forget. The way I remember tournaments
is there's one shot in each tournament, and State Am was a six‑footer hurler
that I made on the 16th hole.
This week was that shot. That
one ‑‑ that hole has been giving me fits all week. I've had guys making 30‑footers on me and I'm
thinking I have to make this just to get ‑‑ I know Davis was making
birdies. And yeah, to see that go in and
not have to deal with that was great satisfaction. I really had to slow myself down after that.
THE MODERATOR: Will you share with ‑‑ what did you say
to Davis when the match was over, now that you're a two‑time runnerup?
WILLIAM ZALATORIS: I felt bad just because I mean it's such a
hard week because even going into this week, even going into the final round,
you've played how many rounds of golf.
It's a long week. It's hard.
And I told him exactly what I said
on the awards ceremony, you're an incredible player. You've earned your way on to Alabama. We've been playing with each other since U.
S. Kids when we were nine. He was a
great player then and he's an incredible player now. And you know, I told him, I said I had the
round of my life today.
You know, I told him, I said for me
to win four up and have the round of my life means that you weren't far
off. I told, him keep at it kid because
that was awesome.
Q. Now, I understand Scottie picked up the
divot. Are you going to hold onto that?
WILLIAM ZALATORIS: Yeah.
He gets memories in dirt from this tournament. So you know, I'll let him keep that. I've got a trophy and medal. He can keep some dirt. That's fine with me. I got the golf ball.
Q. Where did you shoot 59?
WILLIAM ZALATORIS: Capital Hill, or Capital Hill which is in
Louisville, Texas. I finished eagle,
eagle, birdie to shoot 59.
Q. Why do you think it is that junior golf in
Texas is so strong?
WILLIAM ZALATORIS: There's just so much golf to be played in
Texas. Anywhere when you're in the south
you have a lot of chances to play. You
can play year round. Granted, we get our
bad days every now and again, but we've got a program up at NTPGA where there's
close to 40 home events just in NTPGA, and they've got certain sections where
it's prep, medallist and masters. And my
first tournament I ever played at, I got paired with Jordan Spieth. I didn't know who he was, to be honest with
Same thing when I qualified. I got paired with Patrick Cantlay. I don't know.
And I shot 76 in the first tournament I ever played at, and Jordan shot
74. And that's playing in the medallist,
and the medallist event is kind of a middle level; and to think that these kids
were playing in these little tournaments when we were 11, 12 and 13 and have
just progressed that far just shows you how good the competition is.
But there's just so many
tournaments. You can only get better in
competition. You have practice to hone
in on your mechanics, but you can only get better in competition, when you're
under the gun.
WILLIAM ZALATORIS: That was awesome. You know, I had Rob Addington, director, down
here yesterday and Mr. Brown came down.
That really meant a lot to me, because you know, again, he's been
starting up on the first tee of juniors since I was 10 years old. So being in the home state I had a lot of
friends around me, and it was a lot of fun when I would make a birdie and I
would hear the guys' voices cheering. So
it was a lot of fun this week.
Q. Coach Haas was talking about your game this
morning. He said there was a stretch
there while he was following you last year and everything, you were having
difficulty with your putting. About six
to eight months ago you changed to the claw?
WILLIAM ZALATORIS: It's been about three. Six to eight months ago ‑‑ or actually
it was about seven, seven months ago I started working with Cameron McCormick
around the greens. We really worked hard
on my stroke. I had a couple quads with
just the path. But ironically it was
very consistent. And so it was
like ‑‑ how Cameron told me I was a Jim Furyk over the putter. I mean, thanks, appreciate it.
But I really worked hard on it. I shot 59.
You know, I had some really great rounds, but I just got ‑‑ I'm
still very inconsistent, and he told me go claw. Okay.
Fine. I'll try it. And I went to Hawaii with my family as a
graduation present and first round I shot 34‑under with two course
records. So I figured, well, I'm going
to keep this.
But yeah, Coach Haas, he won't tell
me this, but he really took a chance on me, offered me an Arnold Palmer
Scholarship where I was. Scott,
Mr. Haas, Mr. Price, they all believed in me, so I believed in
myself. I can't ever thank that guy
enough for just being offered a scholarship, what an honorable name.
Q. Just curious, I mean some names on that
trophy that have achieved the greatest, you know, you've got Tiger; you've got
Johnny Miller, David Gonzalez, major champions.
You're wearing a medal that is given to ever USGA champion no matter
what level or championship it is. How
far do you think you can go?
WILLIAM ZALATORIS: I tell myself, I'm limitless. I'm 17 years old and I believe I'm
limitless. I'm here, just keep working
hard. My dream is not just to play
professional golf but be a successful professional golfer. And you know, I see names with major
champions on here, so even if I don't make it, I'm in good company.
Q. U.S. Amateur is obviously in two weeks. What does winning something like this do for
you now? You already seem pretty
confident and assured person, but what does getting a National Championship do
WILLIAM ZALATORIS: You know, this one, it touches my heart, to
be honest with you. You know, just like
spin this around and looking at the names, it's amazing.
But you know, going into U. S. am, I
still feel like I'm the same player. You
know, I don't ‑‑ just because I have this beautiful trophy doesn't mean
that I got better with my bunker game.
That was kind of my weakness this week.
If I was in the bunker, I really wasn't making up‑and‑downs, but
basically there were a lot of pins in the way, afternoon match going back to
back on me, four and five, but you know, I just keep working hard.
You know, after the U. S. Am I'll
really look back and reflect on this summer, even if I don't make it, don't
make Match Play, doesn't matter. I'll
have had a summer of a lifetime so far.
But just keep working hard. One really big goal of mine is to really pick
up some weight. I mean I'm 151 and I'm
6'2, and it's not to be looking good for the girls in college. It's for getting some stability. Because that's why Tiger was so good in his
prime, and I do think in his prime. The
guy was just massive. He's just
strong. I mean you think about it, I
mean if you're going to throw a putt down weight, you going to take me or are
you going to take a guy who can really lift.
Just lift in the right way. So I
have the endurance, obviously from this week, but just to gain a little bit of
stability will be actually really help my short game.
Q. Are you going to bring Scott Fawcett, who is
the caddie, to Atlanta?
WILLIAM ZALATORIS: His wife probably won't let that happen. There's only so many spa days you can give a
woman. But I've got a friend of mine
who's going to come with me. He's a
freshmen and I'm going to have him read every single putt from the back end of
the putter. So it'll be a fun week.