TOP 30 PLAYERS TO WATCH
No 20: Patrick Cantlay
Already a winner this season, this California native is poised for a huge 2018
December 11, 2017
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
Patrick Cantlay is triumphant at Shriners in second playoff hole
By Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
Patrick Cantlay will make his first-ever start at the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua in the first week of January. It will be a celebration, of sorts, and he will be joined by his coach, Jamie Mulligan; physical therapist, Brendan McGlaughlin; and, as ever, his caddie, Matt Minister.
“He’s in a dream spot,” Mulligan said of Cantlay, who like Paul Goydos and others plays out of Virginia Country Club in Long Beach, California.
In addition to playing in Maui, Cantlay will return to the Masters this season for the first time in six years, and in July he will play in his first Open Championship. Indeed, it’s dreamy stuff, but Cantlay, 25, is right where everyone thought he would be five years ago. He was low amateur at the 2011 U.S. Open, and was low amateur again at the 2012 Masters with his best friend and old high school teammate, Chris Roth, as his caddie.
Cantlay turned pro, but alas saw his career derailed by back injuries. Roth was hit by a car and died right in front of him, and Cantlay was left to try and make sense of it all and move forward. He came into last season’s Valspar Championship on a Major Medical Extension, giving him 10 starts to earn 389 FedExCup points or $624,746. He did that and more with a runner-up finish.
He kept going, making the TOUR Championship and finishing 29th in the FedExCup standings despite playing just 13 times to protect his back. And in just his second start of the 2017-18 season in early November, he won the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas.
“He’ll have a nice schedule,” Mulligan said. “It won’t be as limited as last year.”
We can hardly wait.
BY THE NUMBERS
How Patrick Cantlay ranked in Strokes Gained statistics during his last full season on the PGA TOUR.
Current 2017-18 position: 5th
Playoff appearances: 1
TOUR Championship appearances: 1
Best result: 5th (2017)
INSIGHTS FROM THE INSIDERS
PGATOUR.COM’s Insiders offer their expert views on what to expect from Patrick Cantlay in 2018.
TOUR INSIDER by Ben Everill
You can certainly see a massive year ahead for Cantlay. Although he says otherwise, it feels like he’s making up for lost time. Once touted as a better prospect than Jordan Spieth, Cantlay faced a rocky introduction the professional ranks thanks to bad injury and his caddie’s tragic passing but his win at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open could be the floodgates opening. Mature beyond his years, this is another 20-something to slot in your must-see list.
FANTASY INSIDER by Rob Bolton
What can I say? We love him. We love that he took time for his body to heal and his heart to mend. We love that he eased back into competition and picked up where he left off, going 15-for-15 upon return with a flurry of leaderboard appearances. We love that he was a 2016-17 Rookie of the Year finalist three years after first securing his PGA TOUR card. We love that he didn't lay up en route to capturing his breakthrough victory at the Shriners. Whether he pushes for first-round status in draft leagues will depend on how often he plays, but the 25-year-old figures to be a regular in all of the biggest events. We are smitten, indeed.
EQUIPMENT INSIDER by Jonathan Wall
Cantlay prefers the look of a slightly open driver face at address. Transitioned into Titleist's 917D2 head. Plays True Temper's XP 115 shafts in his Titleist AP2 irons because they offer the stability of Dynamic Gold X100 in a lighter weight. Not one to tinker, Cantlay tends to do most of his equipment testing during the offseason. Switched to Vokey SM6 in 2017 after using an older set of TVD wedges for years.
STYLE INSIDER by Greg Monteforte
Cantlay’s style is as easy-going as his swing. TravisMathew’s laid-back looks, muted palette, and west coast vibe are a perfect fit for the SoCal native. Expect him to continue to fly under the radar with simple, understated kits in 2018.