May 23, 2024
Patrick Cantlay draws on 'self-belief' as he wins golf's $15 million FedEx Cup and Tour Championship

Patrick Cantlay draws on ‘self-belief’ as he wins golf’s $15 million FedEx Cup and Tour Championship

Cantlay’s final-round 69 at Atlanta’s East Lake Golf Club on Sunday saw him finish one shot ahead of Jon Rahm at the PGA Tour’s season-ending event, wrapping up the FedEx Cup championship in the process.

It comes as Cantlay has hit a rich vein of form in recent weeks.

His nerveless putting and calm demeanor on the course have earned him the moniker “Patty Ice” among fans, and Cantlay once more lived up to that nickname on Sunday as he held off a challenge from Rahm.

“Self-belief’s a big thing doing what I do,” 29-year-old Cantlay told CNN Sport’s Don Riddell.

“You’re all alone out there. You have to have that self-belief to be able to come through when it matters … You don’t get the opportunity to win tournaments that often. It’s unlike the other sports in that regard.”

Cantlay celebrates with the FedEx Cup at East Lake.

‘Focus and lock in’

Cantlay led the FedEx Cup standings after overcoming a tense, six-hole playoff against Bryson DeChambeau at the BMW Championship last month.

He entered the final round of the Tour Championship with a two-shot lead over world No. 1 Rahm, which was cut to a single shot throughout the day.

Cantlay bogeyed the fifth, ninth and 17th holes to go with birdies on the second, sixth, 16th and — crucially — 18th, where a superb iron shot took him onto the green and within 12 feet of the hole.

Rahm, who finished the tournament with a bogey-free round, matched Cantlay with a birdie on the 18th, meaning he remained one shot adrift.

“I just told myself to focus and lock in — that’s what I told myself all day,” said Cantlay, who has six PGA Tour victories to his name, four of which have come this year.

Cantlay received an Atlanta Falcons jersey with his nickname "Patty Ice" on the back.

“I really did a good job of staying present and focusing as hard as I could on every shot. That’s what golf is — not getting ahead of yourself and just locking in and giving every shot your full attention.

“I’m really proud of myself for doing that and doing that today, and not only today, but throughout the whole week.”

Breakthrough year

Cantlay’s FedEx Cup ranking meant he started the Tour Championship on 10 under par — four shots ahead of Rahm — and he never relinquished his position at the top of the standings over the course of the four days.

He joins a distinguished list of golfers to triumph in the season-long championship, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth.

“I think I’m a guy that lets my clubs do the talking … I don’t say a lot, I don’t grandstand a lot,” said Cantlay.

“But I love golf and I love competing on the biggest stage against the best players. I’m just grateful to be where I am and doing what I do.”

On his way to the top, the Californian has experienced some dark times, including a serious back injury that forced him to miss three years of competitive golf and almost ended his career.

Now, however, his stars seem to be aligning.

“I think I’ll draw on these experiences for a long time,” said Cantlay.

“I’m going to have lots of tournaments hopefully in my career and I’m going to be in similar situations in the future that I was this week and last week.

“Drawing on those positive memories and remembering what it felt like to come through on the clutch — I think that’s great for me going forward.”

The FedEx Cup is the richest purse in golf. While Cantlay took home $15 million, Rahm earned $5 million as the runner-up and Kevin Na, who finished third ahead of Justin Thomas on 16-under-par, $4 million.