The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, September 15, 2021 1:00 am

Cantlay PGA's player of the year

Chosen by peers after playoff run

DOUG FERGUSON | Associated Press

Patrick Cantlay closed out another victory, this time without hitting a shot.

Cantlay was voted PGA Tour player of the year by his peers, capturing the Jack Nicklaus Award that could be seen as a referendum on how players value winning the FedEx Cup.

His solid year became so much more over the final two weeks of the season when Cantlay won a six-hole playoff at the BMW Championship over Bryson DeChambeau and then captured the FedEx Cup with a one-shot victory over Jon Rahm in the Tour Championship.

“The fact that it's voted on by my fellow PGA Tour players, I think that means a lot to me,” Cantlay said Tuesday. “It wasn't something that I necessarily thought was on the radar middle of the year, but then I closed really well and played a lot of really nice golf towards the end.”

It presumably was a tight race over Rahm, the No. 1 player in the world who won the PGA Tour money title and the Vardon Trophy for the lowest scoring average. The PGA Tour, however, does not reveal the final vote or even how many players voted, wanting the focus to be more on who won instead of who didn't.

Cantlay had four victories last season, twice as many as anyone else, and he wound up winning the FedEx Cup and its $15 million prize.

One of those victories was the Memorial, where Rahm tied the 54-hole tournament record and had a six-shot lead when he was notified he had a positive COVID-19 test and was forced to withdraw. Cantlay wound up beating Collin Morikawa in a playoff.

Another title was the Tour Championship, where Cantlay began at 10-under par with a two-shot lead because of his No. 1 seed in the FedEx Cup standings. Rahm began the tournament four shots behind and finished one back of Cantlay.

Cantlay's other victory was against a strong field at the Zozo Championship, where he closed with a 65 at Sherwood Country Club to beat Rahm and Justin Thomas.

The BMW Championship was as memorable as any, particularly because of so many clutch putts Cantlay made over the final eight holes, six of them in a playoff at Caves Valley. He came away with the moniker “Patty Ice” that week, and it seems to have stuck.

“I obviously, going forward, will take a lot of those experiences and memories that I had from the last two weeks, because I think drawing on those victories is really powerful,” he said.

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