100 days of slumber: 2021 breakout star Patrick Cantlay returns to action after post-Ryder Cup break

The FedExCup winner will be making a fourth start in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Sleepy and off the pace? Or rested, refreshed and poised to ride the wave of his 2021 triumphs?

Patrick Cantlay turned his back on competitive golf after a dramatic summer that saw him emerge from the only form slump of his career with victories in the Memorial Tournament, BMW Championship and the FedExCup, followed by a high-quality debut in the Ryder Cup.

An unconventional response, maybe, but you sense Cantlay is not a man who makes wishy-washy decisions (and possibly one who prefers to leave silly season to others).

"It's about realizing that you're taking time off for a reason," he said ahead of his return to action at this week's Sentry Tournament of Champions. "That reason is to be excited about practising and playing again. You turn it into a positive that you're not playing."

Now he is back, it's pretty clear that Cantlay wants to build on what he achieved last year, not rest on his laurels.

"It was a great year and the best I've had on Tour," he said. "It feels like the result of a lot of hard work paying off, and my goal is to just keep the processes rolling.

"It's as simple as doing the things that I've done in the past, and preparing for every tournament as best as I can, and playing the golf courses that I like the most, and just getting as ready as I possibly can be.

"You don't get to win too often in golf, so you really need to relish the times that you do win, but you can't let that make you not hungry to go out and practice and prep.

"I think success breeds success. The more you win golf tournaments the more comfortable you get when you are coming down the stretch of a golf tournament near the lead or in the lead.

"So the more times you succeed under pressure, the more likely you are to do it in the future. From that perspective, it was extremely helpful because I closed out a lot of tournaments and matches at the Ryder Cup in a really positive fashion

"That carry-over, those positive memories, will only help me going forward."

Any concerns about complacency following the addition to his bank balance of over $15million last year are balanced, Cantlay argues, by his nature.

"I'm very competitive," he said. "So that drives a large majority of it. Then also, there's a little bit of me that's a perfectionist.

"The way I think about it is, if there's a weakness or something that's not as sharp as it could be in my game, I try to be objective about that and then spend more time on that area.

"Hopefully my strengths remain my strengths and maybe my weaknesses can become not weaknesses. If you could turn a weakness into a strength and not lose anywhere else, then you're really cooking with fire."

Let's take a look at what else he said and also his record on the Plantation Course at Kapalua.

On the re-start in Hawaii

"It's always nice to start the year here. It's beautiful. I've been in Southern California and it's been raining, so coming here with the sunshine is really nice. It's a good golf course to shake some rust off. The fairways are big and there's lots of space out here to hit shots. It's also a golf course where you have to be very creative, so you have to play all the different shots out here to be successful."

On needing a break

"In golf, there's tournaments all year round so you almost have to force yourself to take time off and I thought it was the perfect opportunity for me to get a couple months off, rest my body, rest my mind. That way I can play the rest of this year just really fresh and excited to go out and compete.

"I didn't get up to much. It was just really restful for me because I do go so hard and play so many tournaments, and practice to get ready for those tournaments, during the year that it's nice to just decompress.

"Worried (about returning to action)? Not particularly worried, but maybe a little more understanding and easy on myself, considering I haven't competed in three or four months."

Cantlay's Plantation record

Through his first three starts on the course the Californian has been solid without ever quite bursting into life.

Every single time he has been placed inside the top 10 throughout the first 36 holes, twice he slipped just outside that mark at the weekend (T15th in 2018, T13th in 2021), while in 2020 he stumbled that way in the third round before a final round 68 helped him climb up into fourth.

He's tended to putt very well (ranking 13th, 4th and 8th in Strokes Gained on the green), but his approach work has either been brilliant or poor (he ranked first in 2020, but 26th and 32nd in his other two starts).

READ MORE: Spotlight on: Jordan Spieth ready to shine again at the Sentry Tournament of Champions

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