Patrick Cantlay again defends his pace of play, criticism he can’t seem to escape

Patrick Cantlay has been criticized repeatedly for his slow play since his final round at the Masters last month

Once again, Patrick Cantlay is pushing back against the criticism he’s received over his slow play in recent weeks.

Cantlay, ahead of the Wells Fargo Championship this week at Quail Hollow Club, insisted that the PGA Tour’s issue with slow play isn’t his fault.

“If you really wanted to make guys play faster, you would put the tees up and you would put easier hole locations and the greens would roll at 10 if you really wanted it to, and you hope it never blew more than 10 miles an hour,” Cantlay said. “When you get really tricky days and the greens are really fast and the hole locations are on lots of slope, it’s going to take a longer time to play.

“But like I’ve said before, rounds on Tour have pretty much taken the same amount of time for a number of years now and I don’t think they’re going to set up the golf course in a way, like I said, to make rounds, you know, go a lot faster.”

Cantlay actually came with some proof to back up his claims, too.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan told Cantlay this week in North Carolina that they finished the final round at the Zurich Classic — the team event last month that Cantlay played with Xander Schauffele — about 24 minutes ahead of schedule.

“He said no one was complaining that they finished too early,” Cantlay said.

Patrick Cantlay
Patrick Cantlay has been criticized repeatedly for his slow play since his final round at the Masters last month. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Cantlay bashed for slow play at the Masters

Cantlay first drew criticism for playing slow at the Masters last month.

Cantlay was playing in the penultimate group with Viktor Hovland at Augusta National, just ahead of Brooks Koepka and eventual winner Jon Rahm. Koepka called out Cantlay indirectly after the tournament, saying that the group in front of them was “brutally slow.”

Even Hovland seemed frustrated with his playing partner at the Masters, too.

Cantlay defended himself the following week, saying that he was also waiting on every shot. The criticism, however, didn’t end there. Matthew Fitzpatrick, who played with Cantlay and Jordan Spieth in the final round of the RBC Heritage, had similar complaints.

And, to make matters worse, fans at Harbour Town actually put Cantlay on the clock to highlight the issue.

“I’m definitely slower than average, have been my whole career,” Cantlay said in New Orleans, adding that he’s never been warned or out of playing position on the Tour. “I definitely take my time.”

Cantlay will tee off with Max Homa and Sahith Theegala this week at the Wells Fargo Championship, which is the ninth designated event on Tour so far this season. Cantlay — who hired Tiger Woods’ longtime caddie Joe LaCava this week — has climbed to No. 4 in the Official World Golf Rankings. He hasn’t finished worse than T19 in his last seven starts, and is hunting for his ninth career win.

While he can’t seem to escape the criticism, Cantlay isn’t taking any of the pace of play talk too seriously.

“I don't worry if I'm unfairly criticized,” he said. “It's a similar question for do you feel you're underrated or not talked about, which I've gotten before. I don't try to pay too much attention to that, I just try to shoot the lowest scores I possibly can. Like I said before, I don't spend any time on social media so I haven't seen any of it.”