Patrick Cantlay expressed his sympathy for Bryson DeChambeau and gave a scathing assessment of the PGA Tour's Player Impact Program and the FedEx Cup format
Patrick Cantlay, or Patty Ice as he has now been affectionately nicknamed, had the best/worst seat in the house to listen to the latest chorus of “Brooksie” chants directed at Bryson DeChambeau.
The two squared off at the BMW Championship at Caves Valley, needing six extra holes to be separated with Cantlay eventually securing his fifth PGA Tour win.
Such drama, especially late in the day, is always going to draw plenty of noise from a packed gallery, but has the constant needling of one of the game’s most divisive characters finally gone too far?
That, more or less, was the question doing the rounds in East Lake’s media pen, and the typically quiet and reserved Cantlay produced a response as surprising as it was brilliant when asked if he sympathises with his soon-to-be Ryder Cup team-mate.
Here it is in full:
“I think it’s a tough situation,” Cantlay began. “Naturally, of course, there is some sympathy because you don’t want to see anybody have a bunch of people be against them or even be heckled.
“I think anybody that watches sports and sees someone being heckled, they don’t like that inherently because if you imagine yourself as that person, it wouldn’t feel good.
“Unfortunately, it might be a symptom of a larger problem, which is social-media driven and which is potentially Player Impact Program derived.
“I think when you have people that go for attention-seeking manoeuvres, you leave yourself potentially open to having the wrong type of attention, and I think maybe that’s where we’re at and it may be a symptom of going for too much attention.
“But it can be awesome too, because if you succeed and you act perfect all the time and you do the perfect things all the time, and then you also go for the right attention-seeking moves, you get like, double bonus points because everyone loves you and you’re on the perfect side of it. I think it’s just a very live-by-the-sword, die-by-the-sword type of deal.
“And when you leave it to a jury, you don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s hard to get all 12 people on a jury on your side.
“And if you’re playing professional golf on the stage that you’re playing on, and 98 per cent of the people are pulling for you and there are 10,000 people on the green, I don’t know, what does that leave, 20 people that don’t like you, even if 98 per cent of the people like you?
“And if those 20 people have had enough to drink or feel emboldened enough to say something because they want to impress the girl they’re standing next to, then, yeah, like, you’re in trouble. People are going to say bad things.
“Golf, unfortunately, doesn’t and probably shouldn’t tolerate that. I think there’s a respect level in golf and there’s intimacy that the fans can get so, so close to you, and you’re also all by yourself, and you don’t have the armour of putting on Yankee pinstripes, and you don’t have the armour of knowing that if you’re on the Yankees and people hate you and you’re playing in Boston, you can tolerate it for three hours in right field.
“But you only tolerate it because you know next week or on Friday you’re going to show up and you’re going to be in Yankee Stadium and no matter what you do, even if you fall on your face, you’re going to have the pinstripe armour on and people are going to love you.
“So golf is different in that respect, that if you only have 2 per cent of the people that are very against you because you’re polarising and because you’re attention-seeking, then you’re kind of dead because those people are going to be loud, and they’re going to want to say something to get under your skin.
“And I think golf shouldn’t let that happen. I think the Masters is a great example of a place that doesn’t let that happen, and it’s the greatest place to watch and play professional golf because of the atmosphere they create.
“I think if you look at the history of the game and you look at the respect that underlies the entirety of the history of the game, we shouldn’t tolerate it, and we shouldn’t celebrate that. We should celebrate the fan that is respectful and pulls for their side.
“So it’s a tough situation. It’s a tough topic, but that would be my take on it and I’m sure it’s not perfect, but after thinking about it a little bit, it’s the best I can come up with.”
Not bad for someone who appeared to have his own frosty relationship with DeChambeau during their 24-hole shoot-out last Sunday.
And if that wasn’t enough, the 29-year-old also found time to tee off on the current FedEx Cup finale format, as well as the Player Impact Program (PIP) which rewards the top 10 needle-movers with a share of $40 million based on things like popularity on social media.
“I think, frankly, it’s not a good format.” Cantlay said on the $15 million decider this week. “I think it’s obvious why they went to the format because the previous format was confusing.
“This format is less confusing. But I don’t think it’s a good format. I dislike the fact that we no longer have a Tour Champion. So I dislike the fact that no one knows, when they look at the leaderboard, who shot the lowest round this week.
“I think the fact that Xander [Schauffele] didn’t get a tournament win for beating the field by two or three shots is absolutely criminal, not just because he’s my friend, but I think that if that happened to anybody that would be criminal. And there has to be a better solution.
“With that said, I am going to do the best possible job I can at winning in this format because that’s all I can do. And in no way will that take impact my ability to perform in this format. I think if you play the best golf this week, you’re going to be in a great spot by the end of the week.”
Finally, the World No. 4 turned his ire to the PIP, calling it “kind of ridiculous” and that someone in his position, who uses social media so infrequently, has the chance to make even more money for doing very little.
“I doubt I’m doing very well in that category. If I were to win any portion of the 10, I would let you know and I would be compelled to give all that money back to the fans that made it possible, because there’s no way a person like me should be able to get into the top 10 of the PIP.
“If I win PIP money, I am going to give it back to the people that made it possible in some way, shape or form. I won’t take any of the PIP money.
“I think it’s kind of ridiculous and when I said there’s a symptom of a larger problem, I think that’s exactly what I’m talking about.”