Next step for FedEx Cup hero Patrick Cantlay: a first Major title

After landing the $15m jackpot at the TOUR Championship, the American will now have his eyes on making a Major breakthrough in 2022.

In an ideal world, Patrick Cantlay would be checking his calendar this morning and noting that the next Major was coming up in a few weeks' time.

The Californian is currently the hottest player in men's golf.

In a sensational end to the 2020/21 season, Cantlay has come through epic duels with Bryson DeChambeau and Jon Rahm to land the BMW Championship in Maryland and the TOUR Championship in Atlanta.

The reward for landing those two events which took his tally of PGA TOUR wins from four to six: a cool $15m for capturing the FedEx Cup jackpot.

The money is great but the best golfers and sportspeople measure themselves by wins and achievements. And that means Cantlay is far from sated yet.

The obvious next step is for him to win a first Major title and, so far, his record is somewhat disappointing: just two top 10s from 16 starts.

While he'd love to be contesting one in his current form, Cantlay, of course, will have to wait to April's Masters before his mission can begin.

Here, we look at his prospects of landing a Major in 2022.

The Masters - Augusta National

Cantlay sounded full of confidence ahead of the 2021 Masters.

"Just the more I play this place, the more I get comfortable with the shots. And then I love fast, old-school putting greens. And so this is the, you know, apex of that. It's the most undulated, in general, fastest greens we play all year. It feels easier for me to make putts when it's like that, and I look forward to that every time I come here."

It all sounded great but Cantlay bombed, shooting 79-73 and missing the cut.

However, that came in a slump in which he missed three cuts in four starts and isn't representative of his previous good work at Augusta National.

Cantlay was Low Amateur on his Masters debut and held the final-round lead in 2019 following an eagle at the 15th before slipping to ninth.

He was also sixth at halfway in 2020 before falling to tied 17th.

In his last three visits to The Masters, Cantlay has shot a 64 and a 66. He'll be a contender on his sixth visit in 2022.

The PGA Championship - Southern Hills

Cantlay's best finish in a Major came in this event when he posted tied third at Bethpage Black in 2019.

He's played in five PGAs and made the cut in all five so he's had great consistency too.

The 2022 event heads to Southern Hills where Tiger Woods won in 2007.

The course also held the 2001 US Open, won by Retief Goosen. Like the South African, Cantlay has ice in his veins in the heat of battle - hence his new nickname 'Patty Ice' - so perhaps that bodes well too.

US Open - Brookline Country Club

A cool temperament is also needed for the traditionally brutal test provided by a US Open.

This should suit Cantlay personality-wise and making all six cuts is no mean effort.

And yet, he hasn't quite kicked on in this event since finishing Low Amateur (tied 21st) in 2011.

Of his five starts since, the 29-year-old has three times finished between tied 41st and tied 45th while also posting tied 21st at Pebble Beach in 2019 and tied 15th at Torrey Pines in 2021.

A plus: Brookline Country Club features Cantlay's favoured Bentgrass greens.

A negative: he's yet to win an event in super-tough scoring conditions. Cantlay's six PGA TOUR titles were achieved with winning scores of -9, -19, -23, -13, -27 and -11 (the latter, in the TOUR Championship, was officially won with -21 but he started the tournament at -10).

The Open Championship

Cantlay contested his first Open Championship as recently as 2018 and made an impressive debut.

At Carnoustie he fired three rounds of 70 and a 71 to finish in a tie for 12th place.

It hasn't gone so well since: tied 41st at Royal Portrush in 2020 and a missed cut at Royal St George's in 2021.

St Andrews provides a different test to those other three tracks though and Americans have won seven of the last 10 Opens held at the Old Course.

Conclusion

In his current form, Cantlay would be a threat on any Major course but the 2022 set seem fairly favourable.

Although he missed the cut at this year's Masters, Cantlay said numerous practice rounds there with Augusta specialist Fred Couples had given him invaluable extra insight.

Back in April, he wasn't in the right sort of form to cash in but that could easily be very different in 2022.

Cantlay is currently around a 25/1 shot and that would be well worth a look following his four-win season in 2020/21.

READ MORE: Cantlay and Rahm set for FedExCup duel at Tour Championship

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