Cantlay Explains Why He Turned Down ‘Very Tempting’ Saudi Appearance Fee

Patrick Cantlay has opted to play in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am ahead of the Saudi International, despite the astronomical amounts of money on offer

Patrick Cantlay Getty
(Image credit: Getty Images)

This week, Patrick Cantlay will tee it up at what Johnny Miller described as the greatest meeting between land and see – Pebble Beach Golf Links. In doing so, he snubs the reported riches on offer in the Middle East to participate in the tournament where he opened with a ten-under par 62 last year, on way to a T3 finish.

Speaking ahead of the tournament and about the events on the other side of the world, Cantlay said that the chance to pick up a huge appearance fee for playing in the Saudi International was "very tempting" but he ultimately wasn't swayed. “I think with the amount of money they're talking about it's always very tempting. I think it's tempting for everybody. And to deny that would be, you know, maybe not true. But I'm really glad that I'm here this week and I love Pebble Beach and so that definitely factored into my decision."

Should Cantlay continue with his loyalty to the PGA Tour, one player he'll continue competing against is Rory McIlroy. McIlroy admitted it's hard to say no to the huge money on offer in Saudi but has spoken numerous times on his commitment to the PGA and DP World tours.

Whilst present at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am this week, Cantlay refused to provide a definitive answer as to where his commitments sit. The 2021 Fed-Ex Cup champion said, “I think it's a complicated thing and I don't think there's an easy answer. I think there's two sides to every coin and if people want to be more interested in golf and want to put more money into golf, I think that's a good thing." 

Cantlay certainly seemed intrigued as to what a Saudi league might have to offer. "I'm definitely a curious observer as to see what happens and who decides to play. I think there's a real desire of the most competitive people out here to play against the best players in the world almost no matter what.” 

The American enjoyed his best season to date in 2021, where three PGA Tour victories (which included two FedEx Cup playoff events) culminated in him being crowned the FedEx Cup champion. He was also undefeated for Team USA as they destroyed Europe in the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits. 

James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – from tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with items from the likes of Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.