Chris Roth died in the early morning hours on February 13, 2016 after being struck by a car in a tragic hit-and-run. Roth was just 24 years old when the tragedy occurred. Roth was the caddie for PGA golfer Patrick Cantlay, and the two friends were enjoying a night out together in Newport Beach, California.
Roth was hit while crossing an intersection, and the driver sped away. Cantlay called 911, and Roth was later pronounced dead after arriving at a hospital. According to The New York Times, the driver was arrested a few hours after fleeing the seen, and would later be sentenced to two years in prison. Golf Channel detailed the fateful night.
…Cantlay was barhopping in Newport Beach with his caddie, Chris Roth, when Roth was struck while crossing an intersection. Less than 10 feet from the hit-and-run accident, Cantlay rushed over to his friend and called 911. ‘By the time I got to him,’ he said, ‘there was nothing I could do.’ Roth was transported to a local hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. He was 24.
‘You don’t know how you’re going to react in that situation,’ Cantlay said. ‘I’m standing there talking to the police officer and he says, ‘Do you want a towel or something to wipe yourself off?’ I was completely covered in blood. I didn’t realize it. Your importance level, your awareness of what is usually a big deal, was not a big deal to me. And I felt like that for months after.’
‘Your best friend is not supposed to die when you’re 23,’ Mulligan said, ‘and he’s not supposed to die in your arms, either.’
The two had been friends since high school, and Roth had moved with Catlay to Florida for a year. Roth had been with Catlay for some of his biggest moments as he began his career. Cantlay spoke with Golf Digest about how Roth’s death has impacted his outlook on life.
“Every experience you have shapes your outlook,” Cantlay told Golf Digest. “I had some formative experiences the last couple of years, and those changed the way I look at everything. I don’t look at golf differently; my outlook on life is different. I can do as good as I want in golf but at the end of the day it’s about sharing those experiences with those close to me. I always understood that, but the last couple of years made that more obvious.”
Cantlay has not only had to overcome the death of his best friend, but was also trying to come back from a series of injuries. Cantlay is quick to point out that his ups and downs on the golf course is a separate category than the loss of his close friend.
“But the Chris thing is totally separate,” Cantlay told PGATour.com. “That would be difficult whether I was playing or not playing, and it would be just as difficult both ways and just as life-changing and just as earth-shattering. Just something like that changes your life and puts you on a different trajectory than you ever thought you’d get on. And it definitely changes your perspective on things.”
Cantlay’s father, Steve Cantlay, believes one of the ways his son is trying to honor Roth is by continuing his golf career.
“I know he thinks of and will continue to keep Chris close to him in his life,” Steve Cantlay told the Orange County Register. “I know that he can probably best honor Chris and their close friendship by getting back to golf and competing on the tour. And that obviously is what our family wants for him because we just want him to be happy and fulfilled.”
Matt Minister has been Cantlay’s caddie at recent tournaments.