When Patrick Cantlay turned professional, he was expected to enjoy a smooth ascent to the upper echelons of the sport, but the former amateur world number one instead found himself having to come back from the darkest of days.
He had everything you would expect to find in a future star and was ahead of the likes of Jordan Spieth and Jon Rahm in his progression as a player.
Cantlay had held the status of top amateur in the world for 55 weeks after an incredible freshman year at UCLA. He was named Pac-10 Golfer of the Year and the conference Freshman of the Year, and bagged both the Fred Haskins and Jack Nicklaus awards in a phenomenal 2010-11 campaign.
That year was so impressive that Cantlay was encouraged to turn professional after the 2012 US Open and earned his way onto the 2013 Web.com Tour.
He won the Colombia Championship in just his second event, but soon after his career hit a bump when he was struck first by injury and then the tragic death of his close friend and caddie Chris Roth.
After regaining his fitness and Tour card, Cantlay began to make steady progress once again and achieved the biggest victory of his career at the 2019 Memorial Tournament after carding a 19-under 269 at the famous Muirfield Village Golf Club.
In his senior year at Servite High School, Cantlay won the California State High School Championship and committed to attending UCLA.
He enjoyed dazzling success in his first year there and was elected for the United States 2011 Walker Cup team. He went 2-1-1 in the competition. He also advanced to the final of the US Amateur, losing out to Kelly Kraft.
Cantlay established a UCLA school record in his first season, playing 37 rounds in 30-under-par and recording a stroke average of 70.5 across the term.
He finished as the low amateur at both the 2011 US Open and the 2012 Masters. Cantlay is the only amateur ever to shoot a round of 60 in PGA Tour competition, setting a course and championship record during the 2011 Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands.
After finishing T41st at the US Open, Cantlay turned professional and returned middling results at the smattering of PGA Tour events he entered.
He failed to earn full member status at the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament and instead joined the Web.com Tour.
In just his second start on the 2013 Web.com Tour, Cantlay won the Colombia Championship, but his first brush with injury saw him endure a miserable run mid-year.
He bounced back with second at the Hotel Fitness Championship and T11th at the Web.com Tour Finals ensured he secured his PGA Tour playing rights.
An injury which was later confirmed to be a stress fracture of his L5 vertebrae would put his ambitions on ice and his involvement in the 2014 season was minimal. He also sat out the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons with the injury.
In February 2016, while out together in Newport Beach, California, Cantlay's long-time friend and caddie Roth was killed in a hit and run incident.
Cantlay wasn't convinced he would recover from his injury, but doesn't like to equate that with the loss of his friend. He later admitted that he considered going back to school and moving on from golf.
Eventually, however, he decided the best way to honor Roth's memory was to pick up his career armed with a fresh perspective.
In 2017, with 10 starts still left on his PGA Tour medical exemption, Cantlay determined to get his career back on track. In his second tournament of the season, the Valspar Championship, he secured his card with a runner-up finish.
A handful of top-10 finishes allowed him to qualify for the Tour Championship for the first time in 2017 and that November, Cantlay finally recorded his first PGA Tour win at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas.
Major record and further Tour success
After winning in Las Vegas to open his Tour account, Cantlay targeted strong challenges at the Majors.
Prior to his 2017 entry at the PGA Championship, where he finished T33rd, his last start in a Major was back when he was an amateur.
In 2018, Cantlay played all four Majors for the first time in his career, missing the cut at the Masters and finishing T45 at the US Open before wrapping up a tie for 12th at the British Open.
He came close to defending his title at the 2018 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, losing to Kevin Na in a playoff. He then achieved his best finish at a Major to that point - ninth at the Masters.
Cantlay took a short break after missing the cut at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, but returned for the 2019 PGA Championship. The Bethpage Black Course would bear witness to his first top-five finish at the highest level.
Two weeks later, Cantlay achieved the greatest triumph of his career so far at the Memorial Tournament, which he won by two strokes over Adam Scott. He then finished runner-up at the BMW Championship to reach a career-high sixth in the world rankings.
Cantlay represented the United States as a professional for the first time in 2019 at the Presidents Cup.
In 2020, he won his first tournament outside of the Americas when claiming the Zozo Championship in Japan by a single stroke over Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas.
In June 2021, Cantlay won the Memorial Tournament for a second time after beating Collin Morikawa in a playoff. Cantlay quickly tasted more success in August. He secured the BMW Championship on the sixth hole of a sudden-death playoff against Bryson DeChambeau.
In September 2021, Cantlay won the Tour Championship, the final event of the 2020/2021 season. He claimed the victory by beating Jon Rahm by just one shot.
Patrick Cantlay's personal life
One of four children born to Steve and Colleen Cantlay, he has a sister and two brothers and attended Catholic schools as a child.
Both his parents are USC graduates, but Cantlay felt that bitter collegiate rivals UCLA would be a better fit for him.
Patrick is the oldest of the four Cantlay children, with sister Caroline being the second-oldest followed by Nick and Jack. His brothers are also avid golfers, with Jack having already notched a junior win on the Southern California PGA Junior Tour.
Cantlay is one of the PGA Tour's most eligible bachelors and doesn't appear to have had any serious romantic relationships.
Patrick Cantlay's net worth
Despite taking a considerable hit when he was unable to play for nearly two years, Cantlay still has an estimated net worth of $17million.
Cantlay became the first athlete to be sponsored by investment banking giant Goldman Sachs in 2020. It was a big year for the Californian, who also bagged a deal with Hugo Boss.
His entire bag is full of Titleist equipment, having been a staffer of theirs since he turned professional.