2022 St. Jude Championship: How Will Zaratris defeated Sepp Straka in the most dramatic playoff of the season

Over four days, the FedEx St. Jude Championship at TPC Southwinds in Memphis turned out solid if understated as the first event of the 2022 FedEx Cup Playoffs. With a handful of stars involved, JJ Spaun, the leader heading into Sunday, was eventually ejected from the top of the leaderboard after posting his eight-over par. Ultimately, it looked as though a worthy winner would eventually emerge. A solid golf tournament, but nothing terribly compelling.

Then, out of nowhere, he gave us the craziest time of the 2022 season.

It all started when eventual winner Will Zaratris hit a 10-foot par putt on the 72nd hole and turned to his caddy or the crowd and yelled. Shouted out — “What are you talking about now!?” to the idea that if Zaratris could putt, he would have already won multiple PGA Tour wins instead of looking for the first one. It was an emotional reaction. It’s not an idea that anyone who follows closely has, but Zaratris must be hearing it more often than necessary.

Straka scored par on his 72nd hole, and the two returned to the tied 18th tee at 15-under looking for the $2.7 million first prize and 2,000 FedEx Cup points. The first hole of the playoffs was a pretty standard hole, except he had to hit a 6-foot comebacker at par for Straka to keep his hopes up.

It’s worth noting that Straka was on board from the beginning. He missed six consecutive cuts and shot twice (four) rounds in his 60s this week to enter the tournament than he did on the PGA Tour in May, June and July. Then he stepped up and without a blink of an eye scored his 32 on his back nine and played against him one of his 15 best players in the world.

The second playoff hole is when the tournament turns left into the “no entry” zone. There’s a reason they put out the warning signs, buddy. Zaratris teeed his shot flying off the planet, almost out of bounds. He had to hit a running cut around the tree to reach the green, with a temporary nylon fence blocking his backswing. He did not ask for help, nor was it offered. Instead, he pitched out, leaving 98 yards for birdie.

Straka had his own problems. After trying to cut a corner out of the water on two consecutive holes, his ball had a dangerous bounce and was so close to the liquid that he took off his shoes for a moment and stood in the water to hit his second shot. I checked if it is possible. Nothing excites a golf crowd more than a burly man in a polo shirt and socks and shoes off. Wisdom won in the end. He took an unplayable and got the approach up to his seven feet.

Broadcaster Paul Azinger saw Straka’s approach and emphasized the old story.

Zalatoris made a 14-footer par (no notes on what people are going to say about him this time) and Straka covered his par with one of his own from 7 feet. All this, by the way, was just an appetizer compared to what happened on the third and final playoff hole.

Zaratris, who hit first as he did the first two holes of the playoff, hit his tee shot right at the 151-yard par-3 hole. In fact, so far he’s rolled on the rock wall surrounding the green, bounced 5 times, somehow not falling into the water, and huddled in the space between the rock and the turf. In effect it was buried.

Knowing all of this, Straka hit a shot in the same direction, but didn’t get any of the bounce that Zaratris got. I was hitting third. After hitting one in the bunker from there, he hit out of the sand to four feet he had on a double bogey.

Incredibly, Straka was hitting 5 while Zaratoris was still on 1. This is because Zaratoris was busy debating whether to wedge into a ball stuck between a literal rock and a hard spot. It was a heroic effort, and had he achieved it anywhere on the green, he would have had two putts for the win. At the time, it was certainly the pinnacle.

Once again, common sense prevailed and Zaratris returned to the drop zone and hit a 7-foot approach. After making only his four putts over 7 feet in his first 35 holes of the weekend at TPC Southwind, he hit his third putt in his final four, They secured their first PGA Tour victory, ending perhaps the strangest playoff of the year.

“It was pretty crazy,” Straka said. “This course is where every shot you hit is on the edge of your seat. Add to that the nerve to compete for tournaments, especially in his playoff events. Yes, it can get a little crazy.”

The punch line is that no sport creates more bizarre moments. For example, a grown man takes his shoes off and then puts them back on without actually performing any action between the two of them, or if he’s one of his ten best players in the world It’s like staring at the research of Crews at the Memphis grounds spent minutes at a time trying to determine if they could slip a piece of metal between the white ball and chunky rock. than golf.

“Normal sports” is certainly a bit of a stretch, but it’s also true, and the game itself continues to prove it. , is nothing more than a Trojan horse for the real story that matters. Zaratris grabbed the first win of what could be a mega-career, there are his million ways to win, but most Did it That’s what happened in the last two years. actually In fact, it was the most unusual way that could happen.

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