The ‘slow’ Cantlay, under magnifying glass

The intense weeks that golf has experienced, with the celebration of the Augusta Masters and, immediately afterwards, the RBC Heritage, have left several proper names. Jon Rahm’s is obviously one of them, but it is also another golfer’s, although not because of his performance and because of his style of play. The American Patrick Cantlay, 31 years old and number four in the world ranking, has become a focus of criticism these days for his excessive delay in hitting the ballwhich is even causing delays for the rest of the players.

Cantlay, on the PGA Tour since 2014, is already an old man known for his slow game. However, his performance in the final round of the last Masters put the winner of eight tournaments back under the microscope. That Sunday, Cantlay played in the match before the leaders, Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka, and was singled out as the main culprit for the delays that occurred throughout the round. On the second hole teeing off, the Spaniard and the American already had to sit down to wait, since Cantlay and his roundmate, Viktor Hovland, had not yet advanced far enough. This situation was repeated on numerous occasions, and the game of the leaders in the stellar day of Augusta National was full of interruptions.

“The group in front of us was incredibly slow. Jon went to the bathroom seven times during the round and yet we kept waiting.” Koepka explained when asked about the issue. Cantlay’s routines can sometimes take forever, and it is very common to see the American spend several minutes thinking about a putt or executing a tee. That day at Augusta National Hovland was even seen to hit a couple of shots when his match partner had not even reached his ball, something that does not usually happen and that was a clear gesture to hurry Cantlay before the slow game.

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After the Masters dispute, the American wanted to defend himself against Koepka’s comments. “The feeling that Brooks had was felt by all of us. When we got to the 2nd tee, there was already a group waiting to go out. We also had to wait. It was a slow day for everyone.” said the 2021 FedExCup winner. Since then, the networks have been primed with Cantlay and memes and some videos that show his tardinesssuch as one where it takes up to 40 seconds to hit a drive from position.

In the midst of the controversy, Patrick played this past weekend the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head (South Carolina, USA), where he received the odd boo from the public. He wanted to be ironic after the second round, in which he got a hole in one at 7, and tweeted the video of his shot accompanied by “Playing faster!”. Despite this, people continued to be very aware of Cantlay’s rhythm, and for example, he highlighted his second shot on Sunday at 13, where it took him more than three minutes to execute an approach. These types of actions in recent days have reopened the debate on whether slow play should be punished much more strictly. And Cantlay will continue to be watched under a magnifying glass.

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