BROOKLINE, Mass. — As his putt approached the hole on the 18th green on Sunday evening, Will Zalatoris thought he was headed to a thrilling playoff that would determine the U.S. Open champion. All the ball had to do was drop and Zalatoris and Matt Fitzpatrick would settle things in a two-hole playoff.
“With about six feet to go, I thought I had it,” Zalatoris said. He had checked his phone earlier and seen what Paul Azinger, the NBC golf analyst and former PGA Tour pro, had been saying. “That everyone missed that putt high,” Zalatoris added.
“He continued, ‘I was the closest one all day. I was, like, ‘thanks for the consolation prize.’”
Zalatoris is becoming painfully familiar with consolation prizes. Last month, he lost the P.G.A. Championship to Justin Thomas in a playoff at Southern Hills in Tulsa. He finished second to Hideki Matsuyama in the 2021 Masters, just seven months removed from the Korn Ferry Tour. And now, another second place finish in another major.