From the court to the course: Visalia's Ryan Goble caddying for up & coming star Will Zalatoris

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- For die-hard and casual golf fans alike, there is no course that evokes the imagination quite like Augusta National. This year, that stage welcomed an up and coming star.



Will Zalatoris finished runner up in his Masters debut and there on the bag of the 24-year-old, Visalia native Ryan Goble.

"I knew we had a chance to maybe make a little splash," Goble told Action News. "But I wasn't thinking we might win it."

Goble has been caddying for Zalatoris since July 4th weekend 2019. Back then, it wasn't on the PGA Tour but golf's minor league equivalent, the Korn Ferry Tour.

"First week I was with him, I could tell he was so talented and definitely worth sticking around the Korn Ferry to see what happened," Goble said.

Zalartoris would finish number one on the Korn Ferry but because of COVID, wasn't granted status on the PGA Tour and the luxuries that came with it.

"Definitely have to stop at the waffle house on the way, things like that," Goble joked.

But golf, wasn't always the go to sport for Goble. In 1993, he led the Exeter boys basketball team to a league championship. Prior to that, he was a star guard at Redwood High School, then for two seasons at College of the Sequoias before playing one year at Central Michigan.
He was working at a driving range in LA when Brad Sherfy, another Visalia native whom he'd caddied for in the past, got the head coaching job at UCLA.

"Said 'Hey, I'd love to have you in as an assistant and do all the recruiting for me," Goble remembers.

Goble's recruits, including Spencer Levin and John Merrick, would find their way to the Tour and in 2013, Merrick earned his first career win with Goble on the bag. For eight years, he bounced around the Tour caddying for various players before Merrick's agent reached out saying he had a player with potential.

Goble and Zalatoris have been together ever since, with Will now 29th in the Official World Golf Rankings. He's earned full-time status for next season but because he's not a member this year, he can't play in the FedEx Cup playoffs that start next week.

"Unless we win this week in Greensboro," Goble noted. Since the 2020 US Open, Zalatoris has finished in the top-10 eight times. For context, that's one more top-10 than Valley native Bryson DeChambeau in that same time frame.

He comes back to the Valley as often as he can but right now is focused on helping a future golf star find his footing.

"I'm just out there trying to be as helpful and calm and just steady, just be someone that he's comfortable with out there and if that produces good results, then I'm very happy and obviously the last two years, we've done pretty well with that."
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