Daniel Berger, Will Zalatoris out of AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
February 02, 2022
By Staff , PGATOUR.COM
- February 02, 2022
- Will Zalatoris was coming off a runner-up finish at the Farmers Insurance Open. (Ben Jared/Getty Images)
Two of the headliners at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am have been forced to withdraw before the tournament begins.
Defending champion Daniel Berger withdrew Wednesday with a back injury, one day after one of the pre-tournament favorites, Will Zalatoris, tested positive for COVID-19.
Berger was visibly struggling with the injury during Saturday’s final round of the Farmers Insurance Open. He closed with a 1-under 71 on Torrey Pines’ South Course to finish T20 in the event. Berger has made a TOUR-leading 13 consecutive cuts and has finished in the top 10 in all three of his appearances at Pebble Beach. He eagled the 72nd hole last year to shoot a Sunday 65 and win by two shots over Maverick McNealy.
“The second shot on the 18th, I think I'll think about for a long time and then holing that putt to win,” Berger said Tuesday in his pre-tournament press conference. “This is one of my favorite events of the year. It was kind of different last year not having the amateurs, but I'm excited to get back this year and have some fun.”
Zalatoris, fresh off a runner-up finish at the Farmers Insurance Open, has withdrawn from the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am after testing positive for COVID-19.
Zalatoris lost a playoff to Luke List on Saturday at Torrey Pines Golf Course after leading for much of the final round. Zalatoris barely missed an 8-foot birdie putt on the final hole of regulation that would have given him his first career TOUR title.
“I thought I made it,” he said. “I just needed a hair more speed. I’ve seen enough putts through the years coming down that hill to know that that putt just doesn’t go left. And it happened to go left.”
He and List returned to 18 for the sudden-death playoff. List hit his approach within tap-in distance and won his first PGA TOUR title after Zalatoris missed his 15-footer for birdie.
Though he did not collect his first win, Zalatoris’ year is off to a solid start. The runner-up finish came after a T6 at the previous week’s The American Express. Zalatoris saw immediate dividends from a recent switch to a driver that was an inch longer. He also gained 15 pounds in the offseason. The additional 10-12 yards off the tee are a strong complement to Zalatoris’ iron play, which is among the best on TOUR.
Zalatoris, last year’s PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year, is 17th in this season’s FedExCup standings. The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is something of a hometown event for Zalatoris, who lived in the San Francisco Bay Area until moving to Dallas at the age of nine. He started playing golf at the California Golf Club of San Francisco, where he received early tips from fellow Cal Club member Ken Venturi, the 1964 U.S. Open champion.