Spotlight on: 2021 FedExCup champion Patrick Cantlay in the 2022 Major Championships

He was number one on the PGA Tour in 2021, can he end a 2022 Major week as number one on the leaderboard?

Ahead of the 2021 Tour Championship Patrick Cantlay was in top spot on the FedExCup rankings and on track to win a $15million bounty.

Despite the riches within reach, he insisted that monetary gains were not at the forefront of his mind.

"This week, as silly as it sounds, the money is not what's really important for me," he said.

"The money is not what drives me to play this game. Winning golf tournaments, playing golf under pressure and hitting quality golf shots under the gun is.

"That's why I practice and that's why I've practised my whole life. That's the best feeling in the world, winning golf tournaments."

He ended the week as the winner, claimed the FedExCup, the massive boost to his bank account that came with it, and he was voted Player of the Year by his contemporaries.

It was another step up the ladder for a golfer who was already a multiple winner on the PGA Tour. Within weeks he had become a Ryder Cup performer, one whose unbeaten (3-0-1) record was crucial to Team USA's success.

His aim for 2022? To become a Major winner and no less a figure than Jack Nicklaus believes he has what it takes to reach that target.

"His game is very suited for Majors," the 18-timer Major winner said after Cantlay won for a second time at his Muirfield Village layout.

"He drives the ball very straight. His iron game is obviously very good. He's got a good attitude. He (doesn't) try to do something flashy. He tries to play good, solid golf. And that's really what it takes to play Major Championship golf."

Can he break his duck in 2022? Let's take a closer look.

The Masters

Cantlay likes the Augusta National test. Back in 2019 he said: "I love this place. I love fast greens and I love when the greens are really slopey, it's easier for me to see the ball going into the hole, see the ball breaking into the hole."

He proved it that year with a third round of 64, just one shot off the course record, and in Sunday's lap he was tied for the lead after an eagle-3 at the 15th.

He made a bogey at the very next hole - and, of course, Tiger Woods did his thing - but he had backed up his words with a fine performance.

He followed that display with T17th late in 2020 when tied sixth after a second round 66 before heading backwards at the weekend. He missed the cut last year when stuck in a form slump.

Note those words about fast greens because he's a two-time winner at Muirfield Village, a course Jack Nicklaus sets up with blistering putting surfaces.

Past Masters champion Fred Couples is something of a mentor to Cantlay and offers him advice about the nuances of Augusta during practice days. That could prove vital in the long run.

PGA Championship

It was in this tournament at Kiawah Island that Cantlay emerged from the form funk that saw him miss the weekend at Augusta.

In fact, very briefly, he threatened to set a tough clubhouse target on that Sunday in May before he logged T23rd to complete a 5-for-5 record at making the cut in the event.

In fact, his best finish in a Major at Bethpage Black in the 2019 PGA Championship. He toughed it out in difficult conditions to card 2-under 278 and finish in a three-way tie for third.

Will Southern Hills suit? There's no reason to think not.

US Open

In finishing T15th at Torrey Pines in 2021 Cantlay maintained his good form of the summer and also landed a first top 20 in six visits to the national championship.

As with the PGA Championship, he has never missed a cut, highlighting that he has a solid game for the Major test, but has not yet quite found the secret to contending in this one.

He landed Low Amateur honours on his US Open debut at Congressional and to never miss a weekend hints at the right temperament for this notoriously brutal examination - often of the mind as much as game.

The 2022 US Open will be at The Country Club in Massachusetts and crowds in the north-east (that state, New York and New Jersey) are well-known for being boisterous (or just downright rowdy).

Cantlay has a good record in that febrile atmosphere: nine starts, seven top 25s, six of them T13th or better.

Admittedly, only one of them was a top five, but that was his Major Championship best of tied third at Bethpage Black in 2019.

The consistent record bodes well for him getting involved at the very least and his excellent record at the Memorial Tournament (early June) means there is a good chance he will go in with a nice performance behind him (and maybe therefore with odds shortening).

Open Championship

The good news: in the second round of the 2021 Open Cantlay finally broke 70 for the first time in the Open, at the 10th attempt.

The bad news: he still missed the cut.

He finished T12th on his debut at Carnoustie, then added T41st at Royal Portrush a year later.

Maybe the slow greens don't help him. He's needed an average of 31.60 putts per round on the linksland.

Perhaps not his ideal Major.

READ MORE: DJ hoping to turn the table: Can Dustin Johnson land a third Major Championship victory in 2022?

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