Steve Stricker must have been licking his lips as he watched the drama unfold at The BMW Championship.
Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Cantlay went toe-to-toe for 18 holes on Sunday, then six more after that, before Cantlay, cool as a cucumber, rolled in a 20-foot birdie on the 18th green to secure victory. Confirmation, if it was needed, that Patrick Cantlay is a stone-cold killer on the course.
The way Cantlay has performed this season, especially in his three PGA Tour victories, has been exceptional, and success on Sunday secured the sixth and final automatic Ryder Cup spot for team U.S.A.
Before this tremendous victory at The BMW Championship, Cantlay shot a stunning final round 65 at The Zozo Championship at the start of the season, storming past Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas to claim victory. Then at Muirfield Village Golf Club, Cantlay beat ball-striking phenom Colin Morikawa in a play-off to cement victory at the Memorial. It is little wonder he has recently been nicknamed ‘Patty Ice’ by his followers.
“That’s the first time I’ve heard it, but I got it all week,” Cantlay said when asked about his new nickname. “I think there was maybe one or two guys that followed me around for maybe all four days, and they, just every hole, were screaming it.”
The new moniker suits Cantlay, as does his new putter. He made every pressure putt on those final holes and a subsequent play-off at the BMW. In fact, on the six-hole play-off, Cantlay dropped an impressive 33 feet and 6 inches of putts. The Californian also finished the weekend with the highest Strokes Gained: Putting (+14.6 in regulation) since statistics began in 2004.
Cantlay has made a couple of significant putter alterations in recent months, but he has finally found a putter he calls “The magic one.”
Cantlay has always preferred a blade putter but seeking a putter more conducive to a straight back-through stroke Cantlay started using a Scotty Cameron Phantom X 5 tour prototype at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in April.
The now five-time PGA Tour winner then switched to the mid-mallet X 5, which features a double-bend shaft and no sight-line before winning the Memorial Tournament in June.
Cantlay made a third and possibly final switch for a long time following the second round at The Northern Trust, switching to a Phantom X5 with a slight line. He also started drawing a line on his Titleist Pro V1x golf ball to aid alignment on short putts.
Following the Championship victory Cantlay openly discussed the putter changes with the assembled media.
“I have been working with the guys over at Scotty Cameron all year since I got into this new putter, I finally have one that feels absolutely perfect, and I can’t thank those guys over at Scotty Cameron – Paul Vizanko and Jose [Hernandez] – enough. They just sent me a ton of putters, and I got the magic one now.”
Cantlay also spoke about his reasons for drawing a line on his ball for short putts.
“That’s new, and I use it on shorter putts if they don’t have very much break, I thought it just maybe got me a little more specific on the really straight short putts, and I don’t use it on very many putts, but I think it’s helping a little bit on three-to-five footers.”
Tour rep Scott Garrison said Cantlay also had his SuperStroke Traxion Flatso 1.0 putter grip readjusted earlier in the week, saying he wasn’t happy with how the putter felt in his hands.
Armed with the new putter and amended grip, Cantlay gained 14.577 strokes this week on the greens, a new record in the ShotLink era.
Cantlay took the record from Kevin Na, who coincidentally shot the previous record at the 2019 Shriners Open, where he beat Patrick Cantlay.
“Good, a little redemption then,” Cantlay said, smirking once he was made aware of this.
The only time that Cantlay looked in danger was the second play-off hole; Dechambeau lipped a relatively straight forward looking 8-footer which, if sunk, would have handed him victory.
“I thought he was going to make that putt,” Cantlay said when asked about it, “That was maybe the only time that I really thought I was done.”
Cantlay regained his composure quickly, and after a few more neck-for-neck holes, he sent DeChambeau trudging up the hill towards the locker room while he finally cracked a smile and basked in the glory on the 18th green.
Stone Cold Patrick Cantlay. “Patty Ice”.