Patrick Cantlay was struck by tragedy five years ago when his best friend and caddy before him died after being hit by a car… Now the Ryder Cup rookie wants to become the US trump card
- Patrick Cantlay’s caddy and best friend Chris Roth died in a car accident in 2016
- The Fedex Cup winner gives his insight into the recent success of the Ryder Cup in Europe
- Cantlay has been in great shape since 2020 and won PGA Tour Player of the Year
- The American golfer wants to help Team USA win back the Ryder Cup
If the question was clear, the answer was anything but. ‘Why has Europe dominated the Ryder Cup for the past two decades?’ Patrick Cantlay was asked.
Due to the credit, here’s the 29-year-old rookie’s raw answer: ‘So I’ve read a few gin books. Let’s see if I’m right. If you play enough gin hands, a one or two percent difference in skill translates into an almost guaranteed win over many, many hands of gin.
“But you could be a big difference between someone — maybe a 60 to 40 percent skill level — and gin is still so likely that you can play 10 hands and lose six or seven hands than someone much worse than you expertly.” .
Patrick Cantlay wants to help Team USA claim their first Ryder Cup since October 2016
BMW Championship and FedEx Cup winner shares his thoughts on Team Europe’s recent success
“Really, there are only two – these games are only played every two years, and golf is very risky. So would it surprise you if the US went the same way Europe has done for the next 20 years? Wouldn’t surprise me.
“You go to Vegas and you play roulette and the odds are 50-50, but a little skewed to the house. It can go red six times in a row, but that’s not abnormal. If you flip a quarter, it would be weird if the quarter turned tail, heads, tails, heads, tails, heads. Then you’d think something trippy was going on.
‘I try to look at such things for a very long time. Who knows? The captains are different every year. The players are different every year. The locations are different every year. The weather is different every year.
‘You’re really going to ask a question like that and think you’ll get the right answer? I don’t have the answers to that. This is my first.’
Send him to Westminster. If only our politicians’ attempts to provide a non-answer answer were so entertaining.
Cantlay is a natural for a crowd. You might imagine speaking in front of journalists evokes little fear if you’ve delivered the eulogy at the funeral of your best friend (and caddy) who was run over and murdered right in front of you. That was the tragedy that befell the Californian in 2016 when, after his doctor told him not to pick up a club for the rest of the year, high school friend and bag carrier Chris Roth pulled him off the couch and got up for a Friday night out in Nieuwpoortstrand.
As they returned home after a much-needed, morale-stimulating evening, Roth was hit by a car about 10 feet in front of his friend. Cantlay called 911, but knew it was no use.
It speaks volumes for his character that five and a half years after that horrific night he will bow to his country from his Ryder Cup, the same month he was named PGA Tour Player of the Year after winning the BMW Championship and the FedEx Cup.
Cantlay recently won the Tour Championship, finishing a shot ahead of Spaniard Jon Rahm
Eight of the top 10 golfers in the PGA rankings are part of Team USA – including Cantlay
“I think there’s something really cool about the United States that you could come from anywhere and there’s an underlying sense that we’re all still Americans,” Cantlay explained.
“We may not agree with this, that and everything else, but we’re all American. We are all patriots and we all want the best for this country.” Cantlay, who suffered a broken spine in 2013, considered quitting golf and going back to school after the tragedy.
Instead, he plunged into grueling physical therapy sessions, hitting 30 balls initially and then pausing for a day or two to slowly build up his fitness.
He made his return to Pebble Beach in 2017 and may already be the star of Whistling Straits. Even the most ardent Europe fan could not deny that he deserves some success that will come his way in the coming days, given the hand that life has given him.