Will Zalatoris’ breakout season on the PGA Tour has ended in heartbreaking fashion, with the 26-year-old forced to withdraw from the season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta.
Zalatoris - who was third in the FedEx Cup standings when he pulled out of the BMW Championship because of a back injury - has been ruled out of lucrative PGA Tour finale at East Lake Golf Club.
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The American's agent confirmed that the golfer has two herniated discs in his back, meaning he will also miss next month's Presidents Cup.
It's a brutal double blow for the golfer, who has been denied the chance to compete in the Tour Championship - the final event in the FedEx Cup playoffs that offers $US18 million ($A26.1 million) to the winner.
The World No.9 was almost certainly going to be picked by American team captain Davis Love III for the Presidents Cup against Trevor Immelman's International team.
"After Will’s withdrawal from the BMW Championship on Saturday, his medical team determined that the source of his back pain is two herniated discs,” Zalatoris’ agent, Allen Hobbs, said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, this means that Will is unable to play this week at the Tour Championship.
"He is also very disappointed that he will not have the opportunity to play in next month’s Presidents Cup, where he was hoping to play for Captain Love and represent the United States.
“Will would like to thank his fans, sponsors, the Tour, and his team for all of their support. He is fully focused on getting healthy and back onto the course as soon as he is able."
Zalatoris first went down with his back injury on Saturday at the BMW Championship, which forced him to withdraw just four holes in.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) August 20, 2022
Despite the heartbreaking setback in Delaware, Zalatoris only dropped to No. 3 in the FedExCup standings and still sits at a career-best No. 9 in the Official World Golf Rankings.
He won’t be replaced in Atlanta this week, and will instead finish No. 30 in the FedExCup standings by default.
That will earn him a US$500,000 bonus. No other starting positions will be impacted by his withdrawal, either.
Zalatoris picked up 13 top-25 finishes and three runner-up finishes this season, in what was first as a full-time Tour member.
He finished in a tie for second at the US Open, and fell in a playoff both at the Farmers Insurance Open and the PGA Championship.
The 26-year-old finally broke through for his inaugural win at the FedEx St Jude Championship earlier this month, which kicked off the FedExCup Playoffs.
Scottie Scheffler the man to beat in Atlanta
World No.1 Scottie Scheffler will go into the season-ending Tour Championship with a distinct advantage in the handicap format tournament.
Scheffler will start at 10-under, one stroke ahead of BMW Championship winner Patrick Cantlay and six in front of Australia's Cameron Smith - who kept his place in the top-10 despite sitting out in Delaware because of a hip injury.
Fellow Aussie Adam Scott will start at even par after making a clutch up-and-down par from a greenside bunker at the BMW Championship to seal his place in the top-30.
Scott started the week at 45th but vaulted himself into the 30-man field for the season-ender at East Lake after a brilliant tournament in Delaware.
Australia's former world No.1 became the only player to fight his way through both FedEx Cup playoffs tournaments in the past two weeks after starting from outside the required ranking number.
Scott went into the St Jude Championship in Memphis languishing in 77th place in FedEx Cup standings but rose to 45th after finishing joint fifth to earn his BMW Championship spot.
He eventually finished the BMW championship at 10-under, four shots behind eventual winner Cantlay, who edged out fellow American Scott Stallings to become the first player in the 16-year history of the FedEx Cup to successfully defend a playoffs tournament title.
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