Greensboro, N.C. – As Will Xalatores began catering to the demands for autograph signings at the Wyndham Championship after wrapping up his third round on Saturday, coach-turned-cart Josh Gregory explained what he tried to deliver during his emergency turn. .
“I hope it’s a little smile,” Gregory said. “Most importantly, he needed to laugh and smile. He needed to have fun. And I think it’s just a commitment. I’m as optimistic as I can be a coach, and I’ve been very positive with him.”
He created a mixed landscape regarding the events following the Zalatoris’ previous round ended a day earlier here at Sedgefield Country Club, when Ryan Goble fired the cans mid-tournament and called it “the hardest decision I’ve had to achieve success in my football career”.
The former Wake Forest star and one of the world’s best players, hit a 4-under 66 in the third round to advance to a 7-under championship runner-up, five strokes behind leaders Songjae M and Brandon Wu. Storms suspended Round Three on Saturday and will resume at 7:30 a.m. Sunday.
Zalatores threw eight sparrows that day, recovering from a double bogey on the second hole and beating two ghosts on the back of a nine with Gregory, his short coach, 47, on the bag for the first time.
Zalatores, 25, said Goeple was his only sanctionable pro tour bag, and he said, “He’s basically been my best friend for the past three years.” He added, though, “it’s been a little unhealthy for both of us and obviously painful” about their relationship – a partnership that has produced eight top-10 results, finished second at the PGA Championship and US Open, and over 6.6 Millions of dollars in profits this season.
“We’ve had a tough month together, and it’s starting to affect our relationship,” Zalatores said. “I know guys say that when they break up, but it really was. We were guys who liked to have dinner together and hang out, and whatever was going on in my period started bleeding from my period, which is not what you want.”
Zalatores said Joel Stock will carry him into the FedEx Cup playoffs, which begin next week in Memphis. Gregory said he pulled out his on-the-fly duty as a packer for Henrik Norlander in February at the Phoenix Open.
“It’s time for a change,” Gregory said of the split between Zalatoris and Goble. “And frankly, this is the best for both. Change was coming anyway, and it was time to move on and take the Band-Aid off.”
Zalatoris started the third round at 3-under for the championship, six shots off the lead. Then, a turbulent moment left him off the tee with a double bogey in the second slot to drop to 1 under.
“Even when he was doubling on the second hole, I just said, ‘Hey, let’s go see how many birds we can make. Let’s have fun.’ And that’s what he needs. And then he just needed a little extra commitment, a little extra conviction in his decisions. So just tell him how good he is. It is very easy to carry his bag. It’s really good.”
Adam Smith is a sports reporter for the Burlington Times-News and USA TODAY Network. You can contact him at email@example.com or @adam_smithTN on Twitter.
The story originally appeared on GolfWeek