Patrick Cantlay: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Getty Patrick Cantlay

Golfer Patrick Cantlay is having a fantastic run at the 2019 Masters Tournament. The 27-year-old from Long Beach, California is no stranger to success on the green, he was ranked the No. 1 amateur in the world in 2011 to 2012, winner of the Jack Nicklaus Award, and was one of the fastest rising stars before he suffered a stress fracture in his lower back while warming up at Colonial in May 2013.

At age 22, Cantlay’s career flashed before his eyes and he was unsure if he would ever be able to play again at the same competitive level. And then, in 2016, Cantlay received another hard blow when his best friend and caddy, Chris Roth, died tragically after getting hit by car when he was walking a mere 10 feet in front of Cantlay. Without his close buddy and being unable to play golf, Cantlay reached the lowest point in both his personal life and professional life.

But through intense physical therapy and rehab, and a strong family support system, Cantlay eventually came back swinging to the PGA, and is high on the leaderboard in the 2019 Masters.

Here’s what you need to know about Patrick Cantlay:

1. Cantlay Almost Quit Golf & Went Back to School After His Injury

Patrick Cantlay at the 2019 Masters

Between the death of his best friend and nagging back injury, for which every doctor seemed to have a different solution, all of which led to having to take a year off from ever swinging a club, Patrick Cantlay thought about quitting the sport and returning to school. But the idea of actually giving up without really trying to get back didn’t sit well with him.

Talking with Golf Digest he said, “I’d even considered going back to school, but I wasn’t finished with golf. I can’t imagine doing anything halfway. I thought, If I go back to school, I want to go back to school and only do school and get all A’s and spend my time making business connections so I can set up what I’m going to do after school. So I didn’t feel like I could do the physical therapy and get the kind of rest I needed to compete if I also had school going. Sure, there are 24 hours in a day, and yes, you can do multiple things. But not to do everything 100 percent.”

2. It Was Nearly 4 Years Before Cantlay Could Compete at the PGA Level

While coming back after an injury requires intense physical therapy and mental focus, it also calls for extreme patience, which for the young golfer who had already seen so so much success at a young age, was the ultimate test.

“I found myself wondering if 75 percent was the best I would ever be, and what would that mean?” Cantlay said. “Then another nine months go by, and it was hard for me not to go see a different guy who says he can make me better in a week or two. The simple fact is this: Not knowing spent a lot of my mental energy. My progression back was very slow. I might hit 30 balls and then skip a day or two, but I had to be content to make small improvements and not go too fast. Being patient about my career wasn’t what I was thinking when I turned pro at 20, for sure. And it certainly didn’t get any easier when I was 23 or 24.”

Cantlay was able to return to competition in 2017, and play without pain for the first time at Pebble Beach. A few weeks later, he finished second at Valspar, which for most people after going through such turmoil would be considered a huge win, but Cantlay is not most people.

“I walked off the 72nd hole really disappointed that I had bogeyed the last hole to miss a chance at winning,” Cantlay said. “My mind-set hadn’t changed. If I’m playing a tournament, then I was going to prep as best I could to win that tournament. Winning is just a result of the process. I might not have been back all the way physically, but at that instant, when I knew I was playing tournaments to win, I knew I was back mentally.”

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Awesome way to cap off 2017 ?

A post shared by Patrick Cantlay (@patrickcantlay) on Nov 7, 2017 at 1:55pm PST

In 2017, he was back on top. Cantlay finished first over Alex Cejka and Whee Kim to take home the championship at the Shriners Hospital for Children Open.

3. His New Caddie is Mike Minister

Patrick Cantlay of the United States and his caddie Matt Minister

Cantlay has since returned to elite athletic form, but he forever mourns the loss of Chris Roth. Of the “freak, one-in-a-million type deal” car accident in which his former caddie was “extremely unfortunate to be in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Cantlay said, “I’ve done my best to deal with it, but I still accept that it’s going to bother me now and it’s going to bother me for the rest of my life.”

The golfer’s new caddie is Mike Minister, who previously caddied for Sangmoon Bae, Nick Price, Chris Smith, Joe Durant, David Eger, Chip Beck, Eric Compton, Jeff Sluman and Chris Kirk. Minister played golf while attending Ohio State University and is Cantlay’s caddie at the 2019 Masters.

4. Almost Everyone in Cantlay’s Family Plays Golf

Patrick’s grandfather, Big Pat, née Pat Neylen, took him as toddler to the golf course, but didn’t start playing the game until Big Pat put a chipping and putting green in his backyard. While Big Pat insisted Patrick go inside while adults played, the six-year-old kid refused.

“I do not know anyone that has as much single-minded focus to get to where he wants to be,” Steve Cantlay, Patrick’s father said.

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A post shared by Patrick Cantlay (@patrickcantlay) on Jan 1, 2017 at 2:27pm PST

Patrick’s mother, Colleen Cantlay, and his three younger siblings, sister Caroline, who plays golf at Cal Poly, brother Nick, who plays on the Long Beach State Men’s Golf Team, and littlest brother Jack, are naturally, some of his biggest fans.

Brotherly Love with Patrick Cantlay's Brother, JackSCGA Amateur Championship2011-07-09T22:07:50.000Z

5. Cantlay Appears to be Single

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Weekend at Patrick's

A post shared by Patrick Cantlay (@patrickcantlay) on Mar 22, 2017 at 11:21am PDT

Cantlay is not married and there is currently no evidence of an active dating life on the sidelines at tournaments, or on his social media channels. If the 27-year-old UCLA graduate does have a significant other, that person remains a secret.

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