Patrick Cantlay has had his best season in the one just ended and this is reflected in his successes which were highlighted by a FedEx Cup and Ryder Cup triumph, and being chosen PGA Tour Player of the Year.
It was just a reward for a player who turned pro in 2012 and who, after a promising start, had to endure and then overcome very difficult times through personal injury and tragedy.
The 2013 Colombian Championship on the then-Web.com Tour was Cantlay’s first professional victory. He reached the final of the Web.com Tour and his 11th place earned him his PGA Tour card for 2014. However, in the 2013/14 campaign he only managed five tournaments as a back injury slowed down. its progression. In 2015 and 2016, he didn’t play at all.
The Californian from Cantlay also had to deal with the untimely death of his friend and caddy Chris Roth, who died in a hit-and-run car accident in February 2016.
Roth was a caddy for Cantlay, both in his amateur and professional career. The two had known each other from their high school years.
But when the former world number one amateur got back into shape and returned to the Tour after about three years, he made his presence felt in a big way.
He is a six-time PGA Tour winner and four of them came last season. He won the Zozo Championship in one fell swoop, beating Spaniard Jon Rahm and fellow American Justin Thomas. Cantlay won the Memorial Tournament in a playoff victory over Collin Morikawa, then won the BMW Championship in a six-man playoff series.
As if he was writing the script himself, Cantlay relegated Rahm to second place. This time, he beat the Spaniard in one fell swoop on the last day of the final tournament of the season to win the Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta, Georgia, which ultimately won him the FedEx Cup.
He would then make his debut for the U.S. Ryder Cup team a few weeks later and come out with his growing portfolio yet consolidated.
The Americans beat Europe 19-9 and Cantlay duly weighed in with 3Â½ points from his four matches.
As the new PGA Tour season begins to gain momentum, Cantlay’s performance will undoubtedly be scrutinized, and rightly so.
The world number four has certainly announced his arrival – and this quite eloquently.
Here are excerpts from an exclusive TeeUp interview with the 29-year-old:
Q: First of all, congratulations on a brilliant season. And so, with all of this, in a nutshell, how do you feel?
A: Thank you, it was great to accomplish so much on the golf course this year and the feeling is very gratifying. Since playing golf I’ve been very process-oriented, both with my planning and preparation, so it’s great to see my commitment pay off.
Q: What does winning the FedEx Cup and then being named PGA Tour Player of the Year mean to you and how do you move forward from here?
A: It was a great feeling to win the BMW Championship in such a long playoff and then to win the FedEx Cup the following week. The hard work of the last few months and years has really been showcased during these few weeks. To be selected by my peers as Player of the Year is a great honor, especially given the number of other Tour players who have also had phenomenal seasons.
Q: You also made the United States team for your first Ryder Cup, another great achievement in a great season, what do you think of that?
A: I loved representing the United States in Australia at the Presidents Cup in 2019. Now that I know what it’s like to compete in the Team Weeks, I was so excited and happy to compete at home for my first Ryder Cup.
Q: In the last 24 months or so you have really blossomed, especially last year, could you maybe share your thoughts on this?
A: Each year on the Tour I have become more comfortable and have learned to maximize my time and preparation. I’ve been a pretty consistent person both as a competitor and off the course which I think has been a big part of my success.
Q: You have also had an outstanding amateur career, where you were world number one for 54 weeks, a record, maybe you could talk about that?
A: I have been blessed with great success as an amateur and being number one for a long time. I grew up surrounded by John Cook and other PGA Tour players at Virginia Country Club, which helped me elevate my game at a young age. Learning from these guys and being able to choose their brains in training and course strategy was extremely helpful in maturing my game when I was still young.
Q: From a personal perspective, who has been the most influential person or the driving force behind your golf, even from a young age, and how?
A: My grandfather introduced me to the game when I was young. He pushed me to learn the game and the proper basics as I started to compete. He also introduced me to my trainer Jamie Mulligan when I was about eight years old, who I still work with today.
Q: As you look forward to the upcoming season, would it be safe to say that the Majors will stand out on your agenda again?
A: The Majors definitely stand out on the calendar, and yes, it’s not unique to this year. I love competing on the biggest stage and the Majors certainly provide that for me. I will stick to my daily process and present these weeks prepared and ready to compete.
Q: What kind of role do your sponsor partners play and how important is it to your game and your career?
A: My partners have been extremely important to my career since the day I turned professional. They all play an important role in my success. In particular, clothing partners are extremely important as clothing is an extension of equipment. Hugo Boss gives me the freedom to be comfortable and look great on and off the golf course.
Q: You recently acquired the nickname “Patty Ice”, share with us more about that?
A: I really enjoyed hearing it from more and more fans during the BMW Championship. I think it hints at my behavior on the course in a subtle way and I think it’s here to stay which is great.
Q: Finally, what kind of message could you share with young aspiring golfers and those considering joining golf?
A: Golf is a sport that empowers you and teaches you as much off the course as on the course. The best message I can share for juniors or anyone looking to start playing is to take the first step in learning the basics and be ready to work!