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June 21, 2022

Patrick Cantlay

Cromwell, Connecticut, USA

TPC River Highlands

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: We would like to welcome Patrick Cantlay to the interview room here at the 2022 Travelers Championship. Patrick, thanks for taking a few minutes. You're making your eighth start here in the event, coming off top 15s in each of your last four starts here. With that said, just some thoughts on being back. I know obviously in your first start of 2011, round 2, a smooth little 60. So obviously a pretty cool place for you to come back to, I would imagine.

PATRICK CANTLAY: Yeah, in a tournament I think with the most starts, for me. I think I turned pro here in 2012. So it's a course I love coming back to and a place I love coming back to and a course that suits my game as well, I've played well and looking forward to it this week.

THE MODERATOR: What is it specifically that you connect with so well, mentioning the course suiting your game?

PATRICK CANTLAY: Yeah, I think it rewards driving the ball in the fairway and if you can do that you can make a lot of birdies around here. I think it's a good design. It usually holds its own, despite being a shorter golf course and having some reachable par-5s and a reachable par-4. It's just a fun golf course to play and I think one of the better ones that we play all year.

THE MODERATOR: One last one from me and then we'll open it up. Coming off top 15 last week at the U.S. Open, how are you feeling coming into the week with your game?

PATRICK CANTLAY: Yeah, feeling good about my game. I played well on the weekend. I was 1-under on the weekend last week, which was good in those conditions. Hopefully ride some of that momentum this week.

THE MODERATOR: Okay, with that we'll take a few questions.

Q. Could you just take a look back at that round of 60 where you broke the course record, obviously there are a lot of top young guys that the Travelers invites every year. What does a round like that do for your confidence as a young player?

PATRICK CANTLAY: Yeah, it was huge. It was, I had played the U.S. Open the week before and so it was my first TOUR event that wasn't a U.S. Open and so I was really excited about it, just because it was so new and exciting.

That day was the -- it was Friday, but I played 36 holes. They had a bunch of rain on Thursday. So it was kind of good that I got my nerves out of the way the first 18 holes. And I was out there all day and really got in the zone the second 18 and kind of went unconscious and everything went my way. Made a bunch of putts. It was one of the most fun rounds of golf I've ever played.

Q. Just wanted to get your general reaction on other news today about Brooks and Abe going to the LIV group?

PATRICK CANTLAY: Yeah, not unlike some of the announcements we've heard the last month. I haven't talked to any of those guys about it, but, you know, if it makes sense for them and they feel like it's the best opportunity for them professionally, then I understand that. Everyone has to make their own personal best decision. It's unfortunate not to be able to play against them because I think most everybody in my position wants to play against the best players in the world week-in and week-out. But it is what it is.

Q. On that issue, are you concerned about the future of the PGA TOUR? What is your level of concern about where it's headed?

PATRICK CANTLAY: I think everyone's concerned. Like I said, I think everyone really wants to play against the best players in the world. A lot of us are hyper competitive out here and that's maybe what drove us to be as good as we are. So any time there's a potential fracture in the sport I don't think that's good for the sport.

You don't see it in any of the other major sports. In general all the talent is on one tour or league. So, yeah, I think it's definitely a real concern.

Q. Do you think that the PGA TOUR offering some type of guaranteed money -- you know, obviously if you don't make the cut you come away with nothing -- either at the beginning of the season or the beginning of an event, do you think that that could be beneficial for players on the PGA TOUR?

PATRICK CANTLAY: Yeah, I definitely think that could be beneficial. I think right now there's a competition for talent that's going on and I think you see it in all sorts of other businesses. You've seen it in other professional sports from time to time. Part of the concern is not knowing what the future is going to be like.

Right now it's an uncertain time for golf, but if you think about it in the larger business landscape it's a competition for talent. So if the PGA TOUR wants to remain the preeminent tour for professional golfers, it has to be the best place to play for the best players in the world.

Q. Did you get good vibes off the meeting with the commissioner today about what you're talking about? Do you feel better about it than you did yesterday or is it about the same?

PATRICK CANTLAY: I was not at the meeting. I was, yeah, it was early and I was coming off a long week and a travel day on Monday.

Q. From what you've heard about it, is that what you expected?

PATRICK CANTLAY: I came straight to the golf course so I haven't heard much, just some rumblings from some guys, but nothing concrete. I haven't seen any e-mail from the TOUR or anything with a summary, so I don't want to say something secondhand.

Q. I honestly don't know if anyone has ever asked you so I thought I would. Have they made you an offer and do you have any interest in it?

PATRICK CANTLAY: My team handles all that kind of stuff, whether it be just any of the sponsors that I have or anything in that department. I haven't had any direct contact with them recently. So I really, you know, I don't have anything like that outstanding.

Q. Secondly, you've mentioned competitive a couple times a minute ago. And I kind of wanted to ask you two things. Why you practice so hard, is that to be, is that to win or is that to be the best player in the world and is that the same thing?

PATRICK CANTLAY: Yeah, I think if you win enough you'll be the best player in the world. I think a really good mindset and a mindset that I've had is try to prepare as best I can to win every golf tournament that I enter and let the rankings or let the -- when people say they play for legacy or whatever it is, let that take care of itself.

I think the best thing you can possibly do is prepare as best you can for every tournament that you play and enter with the idea of winning the golf tournament.

Q. Rory was asked this last week and in some regard, at least when the initial field was announced, did you get any sense that guys that were going over were effectively conceding that they can't compete against the best anymore, that there was any sense of surrender?

PATRICK CANTLAY: Hmm, that notion hadn't entered my head. I said it, I think I had a press conference maybe a month or so ago, and I think the reasons for different guys going or not going could vary widely. So to kind of blanket them all into the same decisionmaking process I think would be a mistake.

I think it's a different decision for everybody to stay or to go and their reasons may vary greatly. I don't necessarily think that all the guys going over there are saying that they're not, you know, they have conceded trying to be the best player in the world or the best they possibly can be. They may have gone for other reasons.

Q. Of the varied reasons would you agree that money is probably the one common denominator?

PATRICK CANTLAY: Definitely. I mean it's a big reason for anybody that's running a business or playing professional sports. And you see it in golf and you see it in other sports as well.

Q. Just moving away from all the crazy news that's happened recently. You've played here since you were at your time at UCLA. What does this tournament mean to the PGA TOUR and if you could just comment on the energy that the fans here in Connecticut bring to this tournament.

PATRICK CANTLAY: Yeah, I think this tournament's a big success story. I think that they get a great field on a tough week on the schedule. The week after the U.S. Open is probably not a week that you would expect a lot of the best players to play. They have done such a great job with the tournament, with the community supporting it and with Travelers, they do an amazing job this week. It's definitely one of the best tournaments of the year.

I think a lot of that started similar to the time when I started playing here. They have redone the clubhouse. The golf course is always in great shape. So I think it's a testament to if you run a really good tournament and you care deeply about it you can attract the best players in the world, even if there are some roadblocks in the way.

Q. Of the U.S. Opens you played, which one did you feel the most energy? The loudest I guess is what I'm saying. Did you notice a difference?

PATRICK CANTLAY: I was definitely most nervous in my first one at Congressional. I teed off on 10 over the water with tons of people around and I never played in anything close to that.

So that felt the most electric for me. But probably because I hadn't experienced anything even remotely close to it before.

Q. You didn't go to the drop zone did you?

PATRICK CANTLAY: No, I made birdie.

Q. Secondly, I can't imagine, given the timeline of your career, have you ever been to St. Andrews?

PATRICK CANTLAY: I have. I went once when I was 12 with my grandfather. Then I went and played a round with the Walker Cup team the week before the Walker Cup in 2011.

Q. Aberdeen?


Q. What was the round with your grandfather like? Was that just a vacation I'm taking it?

PATRICK CANTLAY: It was, yeah. My grandma and grandpa took me there for a couple weeks. They were going on a trip there and decided to take me with them. And I got to play six or seven rounds of golf with my grandpa. It's a memory I really cherish because we are, we're close and are still close to this day.

We had a lot of fun on that trip and had a lot of laughs traveling across England, Ireland and Scotland and playing golf and getting lost and having a good time.

Q. What memories do you have of the Old Course and what was, I mean if you remember the other courses you played and your favorite one of the bunch?

PATRICK CANTLAY: I remember the Old Course being really windy the day we played and not having played in wind like that before. I remember being surprised at how undefined the lines were. Getting on a tee and not knowing which direction to go. Most of the golf I had played was very park land up and to that point.

I remember being blown away by Royal County Down. And I haven't been back since. We got a day where it rained sideways for the first nine holes and then the sun came out for the back nine. I was shocked at how dramatic the golf course was with the dunes setting in on the sides. It's a place I would like to go back to some day.

THE MODERATOR: All right. Well, Patrick, thank you for your time, we appreciate it as always.

PATRICK CANTLAY: Yeah, thank you.

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