Patrick Cantlay will hit his first tee shot at the Tour Championship on Thursday with a two-shot lead.
He earned that cushion courtesy of a six-hole playoff win over Bryson DeChambeau at last week’s BWM Championship. But Cantlay is not a fan of the staggered start to the Tour Championship that provides him with a two-stroke lead over second-seeded Tony Finau and a bigger weighted advantage over the other 28 players in the season-ending field.
“Frankly, it’s not a good format,” Cantlay said Wednesday. “I think it’s obvious why (the PGA Tour) went to the format because the previous format was confusing. I think this format is less confusing. But I don’t think it’s a good format.”
Dustin Johnson is the reigning FedEx Cup champion. After winning the first leg of the 2019-20 FedEx Cup playoffs in record fashion, he finished second in the BMW Championship to enter East Lake with a two-shot advantage last year.
Johnson finished with the third-best score at the Tour Championship. That was enough to claim the title, but he finished four shots behind Xander Schauffele’s 72-hole score of 265.
Schauffele wasn’t credited with a victory despite posting the lowest score of the week by three shots over Scottie Scheffler.
“The fact that Xander 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,” Cantlay said. “There has to be a better solution.
“I am not a mastermind on golf formats and there are lots of moving parts, so I’m not saying that I have the answer. There are lots of smart people and I guarantee you there must be an option for a better format out there than the current one we are playing in.”
That said, Cantlay is focused on taking advantage of the position he is in this week as he seeks his first FedEx Cup title. His best finish in three previous Tour Championships is a tie for 20th but Cantlay enters this week riding a significant high.
His dramatic victory over DeChambeau was Cantlay’s second win in his past seven starts. The first came at the Memorial, when he took advantage of Jon Rahm’s COVID-19-forced withdrawal after 54 holes and outlasted Collin Morikawa.
Both victories were punctuated by clutch putts, and Cantlay has taken to a new nickname of “Patty Ice.”
“I think the energy is maybe the biggest thing after a win,” he said, “To come back, tee it up on Thursday with the same type of intensity.”
Cantlay has three other top-15s in his past seven starts and enters this week ranked a career-best fourth in the Official World Golf Ranking.
“I’m in a comfortable spot with my game where I don’t need to tinker,” he said. “I don’t need to work on anything extra hard this week. I just need to get fresh and ready and do my standard routine to prep for a golf tournament and the results should take care of themselves.”
–Field Level Media
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