Patrick Cantlay has at all times been a crew participant. Ask his highschool golf coach

Patrick Cantlay has at all times been a crew participant. Ask his highschool golf coach


Michael Bamberger

September 24, 2021

Patrick Cantlay is undefeated to this point within the 2021 Ryder Cup.

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HAVEN, Wis. — So Patrick Cantlay and his accomplice in wine-drinking, Xander Schauffele, batted fourth on Friday morn, on the tee earlier than 8 a.m. Two heavyweights, within the cleanup place. Your FedEx Cup winner (Cantlay) and your Olympic gold-medal winner (Schauffele).

Within the different nook was the formidable duo of Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter.

The 2 Europeans received whacked, 5 and three. A giant win for the Pinot Brothers, two brainy SoCal golfers of their mid-20s.

And that was that, at the very least for the day.

By Friday afternoon, their captain, Steve Stricker — in step with a plan he had shared together with his crew on Monday — cut up up the Californians and gave every a brand new accomplice. Schauffele went out with Dustin Johnson within the leadoff place. Cantlay went out with the good of the cool youngsters, Justin Thomas.

Have been you not shocked?

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Did you not suppose that Pat-‘n-Zander may be a factor, like Tom Lehman and Paul Azinger as soon as had been, and be despatched out time and again and once more?

Dane Jako was not shocked. Dane Jako mentioned, “When you requested Pat who he needed to play with, he would have mentioned Xander and Justin can be his 1A and 1B decisions, and never essentially in that order.”

Dane Jako is a soccer man. However he was additionally Pat Cantlay’s high-school golf coach, at an all-boys Catholic faculty, Servite Excessive, in Anaheim. He’s the final word Cantlay whisperer.

“Pat may be very a lot into match-play golf and crew golf,” Jako mentioned in a telephone interview Friday afternoon. “In 4 years, he by no means missed a match. Loads of these good junior golfers, they’re going away on weekends to play in an AJGA occasion or another occasion. His factor was ‘Coach, these two and a half months are yours. I’m right here for the crew.’”

Go crew.

Go Friars.

Go USA. 

When Friday was over and the rain was coming in, the house crew had 6 factors and the guests had 2. Cantlay was in on 1.5 of these 6 U.S. factors. He and his SoFla buddy (Justin Thomas) made a outstanding comeback of their afternoon match in opposition to Viktor Hovland and Tommy Fleetwood. The People had been 3 down by means of eight holes. They chipped and chipped. The Europeans’ placing went chilly within the wind. The match led to a tie.

Patrick’s youngest brother, Jack, performs for Jako on the Servite golf crew now. He is aware of Patrick’s different brother and sister and oldsters and maternal grandfather, who would drop Patrick off on the household’s membership, the old-timey Virginia Nation Membership in Lengthy Seaside, the place Patrick would spend lengthy and informative days.

Cantlay likes golf in a crew uniform. The Servite crew uniform. The UCLA crew uniform. The Walker Cup and Presidents Cup and now, as a rookie in it, Ryder Cup crew uniforms.

“Once I heard Pat speaking about enjoying gin the opposite day [at a Ryder Cup press conference], I wasn’t one bit stunned, as a result of he would watch the outdated males play gin on the membership and earlier than lengthy he was enjoying with them. He was 10, 12, 14. When he mentioned he would learn books about gin — that’s Pat. He’s going to be taught all the pieces he can a couple of topic. He at all times says golf’s extra psychological than it’s mechanical.”

It has been extraordinary, for these of us who observe golf, to see Cantlay blossom earlier than our eyes over the previous month. His charming victory over Bryson DeChambeau in a sudden-death playoff in FedEx II that went six holes. His glorious play the next week, at East Lake. His latest press conferences the place he has revealed himself to be an authentic thinker — and a talker.

None of this caught Jako unexpectedly.

“He was at all times like that,” Jako mentioned. “He’s very opinionated. He’ll argue with you till you alter your thoughts. He’d come into my workplace after I had made a lineup and inform me all of the explanation why this individual ought to play with that individual, and 90 p.c of the time he was proper,” Jako mentioned. “Pat loves golf. He’s gonna be a lifer within the sport. I’d be stunned if he’s not a Ryder Cup captain sometime.

“I performed within the USFL. I’ve coached guys who’ve performed within the NFL. I’ve by no means identified anyone who’s extra aggressive than Pat. He taught me tips on how to coach golf.

“Ryder Cup golf is right for him, as a result of he’s made for match play. When Bryson was outdriving him by 30 yards, no matter it was? That performs proper into Pat’s palms, as a result of nothing goes to fluster him. He’s by no means going to vary his sport plan. He doesn’t care what the opposite man is doing as a result of he has a lot confidence in what he can do. And that may get beneath your pores and skin. He’s by no means flustered. You possibly can’t take him out of his sport.”

Cantlay and Schauffele have related on-course demeanors. They’re even and regular, not significantly emotional. You possibly can’t think about two gamers much less more likely to do the entire (ridiculous) cup-your-ear factor in an effort to generate crowd noise. They’re self-contained, in each means.

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However Justin Thomas is nothing like that. He’s a showman, his arms out just like the wings of a airplane after making putts, fist-bumping right here, chest-bumping there. Paired with him, Cantlay just about continued to do his personal self-contained factor. “Pat’s an individual who may be very snug in his personal pores and skin,” Jako mentioned.

Cantlay likes golf in a crew uniform. The Servite crew uniform. The UCLA crew uniform. The Walker Cup and Presidents Cup and now, as a rookie in it, Ryder Cup crew uniforms.

One 12 months, as a senior at Servite, the Friars had a match on St. Patrick’s Day. Cantlay was born on St. Patrick’s Day. For a born-and-raised American, he’s about as Irish as Padraig Harrington. The crew wore inexperienced from sneakers to hat that day. They misplaced their match to Corona del Mar that day when a Corona del Mar participant made a hole-in-one late within the match to make sure a uncommon Servite loss. “Pat mentioned, ‘Coach, we’re by no means carrying inexperienced once more.’”

Jako isn’t at Whistling Straits this weekend. He has a son who performs soccer at Davidson, close to Charlotte, N.C. He was touring on Friday and desirous to get to his resort, the place the resort supervisor had recorded the Friday golf for him, by means of TiVo. The resort supervisor didn’t know Dane Jako. However Patrick Cantlay was one other matter. Cantlay’s identify has unfold far and large within the final month.

Coach Jako goes to should do extra display juggling on Saturday. The Davidson Wildcats play at excessive midday, in opposition to San Diego. The Pinot Brothers are again at it Saturday morning, batting fourth once more. This time the duo of Cantlay and Schauffele will face Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick, two Englishmen.

As for Saturday afternoon’s fourth session, who is aware of?

Effectively, Jako does, in a way of talking. Pat Cantlay will play with anyone Steve Stricker desires him to play with. That’s what he is aware of. He is aware of Pat’s motto. Go crew. It’s his factor.

Michael Bamberger welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

Michael Bamberger Contributor
Michael Bamberger writes for GOLF Journal and Earlier than that, he spent almost 23 years as senior author for Sports activities Illustrated. After faculty, he labored as a newspaper reporter, first for the (Martha’s) Winery Gazette, later for The Philadelphia Inquirer. He has written a wide range of books about golf and different topics, the latest of which is The Second Lifetime of Tiger Woods. His journal work has been featured in a number of editions of The Greatest American Sports activities Writing. He holds a U.S. patent on The E-Membership, a utility golf membership. In 2016, he was given the Donald Ross Award by the American Society of Golf Course Architects, the group’s highest honor.

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