Sept. 21-26, 2021 Whistling Straits, Kohler, WI

Patrick Cantlay


Residence: North Palm Beach, Florida
Age: 29
World Ranking: 4
Ryder Cup ranking: 6
Ryder Cup appearances: first appearance
U.S. Ryder Cup record: first appearance

There was so much on the line late Sunday at Caves Valley during the final round of the BMW Championship. For Patrick Cantlay there first was the obvious – win the BMW Championship. Win the BMW Championship, and secure a top seed in the FedExCup rankings heading into the TOUR Championship at East Lake. Secure the top seed and earn the coveted lead position in an event where scoring is staggered from top to bottom and any advantage is a key advantage.

No small to-do list there.

Now add in the pressure of knowing a win at Caves Valley was also a ticket to Whistling Straits. Cantlay needed a W coming into the week to lock up the sixth and final automatic qualifying position for the U.S. Ryder Cup team, bumping Tony Finau, last week’s winner, down to the seventh position.

When Cantlay found the water with his tee shot in regulation on the par-3 17th hole, it seemed his valiant run was over. But Bryson DeChambeau, the leader by a shot at the time, made bogey on the same 17th hole.

Game on.

Cantlay birdied the final hole to end tied with DeChambeau, then beat him on the sixth hole of an electrifying sudden-death playoff to earn the victory, lead the FedExCup standings and secure his first Ryder Cup berth. Heady stuff.

“It’s nice to get in on points,” Cantlay said. “I’m really looking forward to [the Ryder Cup]. I’ve heard so much about it and watched it growing up. I’m sure it will be everything I’ve imagined and more. I will lock in there, and hopefully we’ll get a victory.”

The top six players who secured the automatic qualifying on Captain Steve Stricker’s team are, in order, Collin Morikawa, Dustin Johnson, DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas and Cantlay.

Stricker will make his six captain’s picks on Sunday, following the conclusion of the Tour Championship.

What Patrick brings to the team

A calm demeanor. A steady, unflappable game. Rookie nerves that could work to his advantage.

All of these traits were on display late Sunday at the BMW Championship where Cantlay could’ve gone away several times, but never did. There’s a reason why his nickname is Patty Ice.

If you dig into statistics on many of the top players in the world, there is usually a clear weakness in one area of their game. Nothing bad, but something that clearly is not as good as the other areas. That is not the case with Cantlay. He’s great at everything.

Take a look at his ranking in the top-six strokes-gained categories:

  • Off-the-tee (14th)
  • Approach to the green (29th)
  • Around-the-green (seventh)
  • Putting (27th)
  • Tee-to-green (fifth)
  • Total (third)

Cantlay drives it well, his irons are solid, his shortgame is terrific and his putting is stellar. That makes him a lethal Ryder Cup competitor and one that the Americans will likely utilize for many years to come.

Ideal partnerships

This is a simple plug-and-play for Stricker, which is something that every Ryder Cup captain always looks for. Cantlay hasn’t played in a Ryder Cup, but he did make the U.S. Presidents Cup squad two years ago in Australia. His only partner that week? Xander Schauffele. In four available team matches, how many times did they play together? Four.

This is a no-brainer for Stricker, unless one of the two men opt out of the partnership, which seems unlikely.

Past results

Again, this is Cantlay’s first Ryder Cup appearance, but he is the only player on the PGA Tour who has won three times this year. That counts for something.

Also, Cantlay’s record with Schauffele two years ago in that Presidents Cup was 2-2, winning both foursomes matches and losing both four-ball matches.

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see them play all four matches again this year, keeping in mind that both Cantlay and Schauffele are both much more seasoned players than they were just 18 short months ago.

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