Patrick Cantlay, formerly the No. 1 amateur golfer in the world, turned professional Tuesday at a press conference prior to the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Conn.
Though the 20-year-old, who finished tied for 41st last week at the U.S. Open, said he hadn’t made a decision as of Sunday, well…no one really believed him. After all, Cantlay did shoot 60 in a round at River Highlands as an amateur last year. And with two years of seasoning at UCLA, Cantlay already gives a pretty typical pro interview. Here’s his announcement:
Well, I had a really good time at UCLA for my two years, and I learned a lot and I developed a lot, and I've played really well at this event last year, and I feel like it's time for me to play as a pro. I think it's best for my golf game, and that's just what my when I talked over with my mom and my dad and [coach] Jamie Mulligan, that's just what we thought would be best for me and my game right now. So we thought Travelers since I played well here last year and it's after the U. S. Open it was the right time and that's kind of why I'm doing it now, and just felt right.
As for the timing:
For me it was a combination of being comfortable with being a professional and taking it to the next level and timing. I think this timing makes sense for me, being able to start somewhere where I'm comfortable and I have good memories. And I feel ready and comfortable with being a pro and trying to be as good as I can be.
Cantlay will receive exemptions for the next three tour stops. He’ll have to finish in the top 125 on the money list to dodge Q-school, though –- a feat only accomplished by a handful of golfers, including Bud Cauley last year, who went straight from Alabama to the tour.
Cantlay could easily be the next to make that jump. In his eight previous tour starts, he made seven cuts -– including four top 25s, and a T9 at last year’s Canadian Open. Cantlay’s scoring average last year was a strong 69.75, which would have ranked the 11th lowest on the PGA Tour.
He signed with Tiger Woods’s agent Mark Steinberg, and already has a clothing sponsor for this week.
We’ll see how Cantlay’s pro career starts Thursday morning, when he’ll tee off in an intriguing trio that includes 20-year-old Ryo Ishikawa and 23-year-old John Peterson, fresh off his T4 finish at the U.S. Open.
Tiger to play Bridgestone
Tiger Woods gave an unusually early commitment Tuesday to play in August’s Bridgestone Invitational. Though he usually plays in World Golf Championship events, he typically lets organizers sweat a little first, according to Tim Rogers of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Players are not required by the PGA Tour to enter an event until the preceding Friday, which in the case of the Bridgestone, would be July 27. Woods' early commitment gives the tournament extra time to sell tickets.
"This is the earliest Tiger has entered since I've been here," said executive director Don Padgett III, who will oversee the event for the sixth year. "Last year he waited until the Thursday or Friday before, which is his right. But, having him commit early is a plus."
Of course, there’s little reason not to play in a WGC event: the purse is $8.5 million, and there isn’t a cut. Sign me up. With the Bridgestone the first week in August and the PGA Championship the second, we'll have a serious chunk of golf to pull us through the dog days.
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