When Patrick Cantlay’s name appeared on the RBC Heritage’s pre-tournament interview schedule, that shouldn’t have come as a surprise.
Cantlay fell to Jordan Spieth in a playoff last year, failing to get up-and-down from a bunker on the first hole. He also has two third-place finishes and a solo seventh in his five starts at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
What’s also not a shocker is Cantlay, ranked fourth in the world, was asked questions about last week’s Masters in the midst of preparing for the sixth designated event on the PGA Tour’s schedule.
During Sunday’s final round, Cantlay was with Viktor Hovland in the penultimate group. Eventual winner Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka were in the final pairing, and on nearly every shot throughout the final round, they were forced to wait on the pair in front of them.
Rahm and Koepka play quickly, and Koepka didn’t hold back when asked about the pace after his round when he shot a 3-over 75.
“Yeah, the group in front of us was brutally slow,” Koepka said. “Jon went to the bathroom like seven times during the round, and we were still waiting.”
However, Cantlay’s play, or his slow pace, was focused on more. Even Hovland seemed annoyed, as on the 13th hole, he hit a chip shot before Cantlay even reached the putting surface.
On Tuesday, Cantlay deflected the notion the slow play was his fault.
“(When) we finished the first hole, and the group in front of us was on the second tee when we walked up to the second tee, and we waited all day on pretty much every shot,” Cantlay said. “We waited in 15 fairway, we waited in 18 fairway. I imagine it was slow for everyone.”
A couple more questions went by, and another one was asked about whether Cantlay thought pace of play was an issue on the PGA Tour and how it could be resolved.
“One thing that’s interesting sitting on the PAC (Player Advisory Council) is you get all the numbers and the data, and rounds have taken about the same length of time for the last 10 or 20 years that they currently take,” Cantlay said. “When you play a golf course like Augusta National where all the hole locations are on lots of slope and the greens are really fast, it’s just going to take longer and longer to hole out.
“I think that may have been what attributed to some of the slow play on Sunday, and then also when the wind is gusting and the wind is blowing maybe inconsistently, that’s when guys will take a long time, too. I think that’s just the nature of playing professional golf, where every shot matters so much.”
Sounds like Cantlay isn’t concerned with the widespread bitterness being held over his head.
This season, he has three top-four finishes and has missed only one cut in nine starts. And with his track record at Harbour Town, he could find himself in the mix once again come Sunday.