[PHOTO: Ben Jared]

Will Zalatoris has withdrawn from the CJ Cup Byron Nelson.

There was no reason given for Zalatoris’ decision, which was announced by the PGA Tour’s communications team. As of writing, there is no indication Zalatoris has dropped out due to a re-emergence of back problems that sidelined him for the entire 2023 season.

Zalatoris had played in the past three tour events, including last week’s team competition, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, where he and teammate Sahith Theegala missed the cut. He had been scheduled to speak to the media on Wednesday (US time), but is no longer on the list.

It is a blow to tournament organisers, who are losing their second hometown star. World No.1 Scottie Scheffler was always passing on the Dallas event as he and his wife prepare for the birth of their first child. The Nelson has just three players in the Official World Golf Ranking’s top 30 in the field.

Zalatoris, 27, has enjoyed a solid comeback year after missing 2023 due to back surgery. He finished in a tie for second at the Genesis Invitational, with a top-five finish last month at Bay Hill and a T-9 three weeks ago at the Masters. He’s currently 16th in the FedEx Cup and 30th in the OWGR.

Nick Watney will replace Zalatoris in the field.