Patrick Cantlay’s duel with Jon Rahm at the TOUR Championship to win his first FedExCup title capped off a huge 2020-21 PGA TOUR Super Season that began 361 days ago at the Fortinet Championship in Napa, California.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic produced a season unlike any other. For the first, and probably the last time, there were six major championships, three World Golf Championships, an Olympics, a PLAYERS Championship before an awesome FedExCup Playoffs all inside the one PGA TOUR season.
And we had historic moments through just about all of those. Some of which would have been laughed at by Hollywood screenwriters as unbelievable had they been touted prior.
Through 50 tournaments we witnessed thrills and spills from the greatest players on the planet with incredible golf coming thick and fast.
The season was so packed tight with highlights that the task of coming up with the top 10 storylines from the last year of PGA TOUR golf was a near impossible task.
But we’ve given it a go anyway.
Here – in no particular order – are the Top 10 of PGATOUR season 2020-21.
1. CANTLAY CAN DO
In addition to the $15 million, Patrick Cantlay earned a new nickname, one that will likely last just as long as the winner’s check he earned at East Lake. “Patty Ice” they called him for the way he holed important putts against Bryson DeChambeau a week earlier at the BMW Championship. Then he locked up the season-long prize with a clutch approach to East Lake’s par-5 finishing hole to hold off the World No. 1, Jon Rahm.
Beating the best players in the game is what Cantlay did all season. It started at the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP in his native California, where Rahm and Justin Thomas were runner-up. Then Cantlay beat Collin Morikawa at the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday (after Rahm bowed out with a positive COVID diagnosis). And finally, Cantlay bested DeChambeau and Rahm in the final fortnight of the season.
Beat the best to be the best. That’s what Cantlay did to win a season-high four times, including the TOUR Championship. It fulfilled the promise that Cantlay showed a decade ago in that magical summer of 2011, when he shot 60 at the Travelers Championship, was low amateur at the U.S. Open (T21) and finished in the top-10 in another TOUR event (RBC Canadian Open).
Personal tragedy and injury derailed his career, however. But when he returned four years ago, he quickly earned a reputation as one of the TOUR’s most consistent contenders. In an age of data and analytics, Cantlay is unwavering in his old-school approach, preferring for stability instead of tinkering. That slow build came to a crescendo this year. His four wins were twice as many as he’d earned entering this season.
“With each passing year, he’s been better in these situations, better dealing with the crowds, better in the media,” his caddie, Matt Minister, said. “His interviews are fantastic; you see it with each passing year, his maturity and how comfortable he is being out here.”
He was comfortable beating the best. And now, at the end of this Super Season, he lays claim to being the best.