PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – FedEx Cup champion Patrick Cantlay, the only player to win more than twice during the 2020-21 super season, was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year, it was announced Tuesday.
En route to receiving the Jack Nicklaus Award voted on by his peers, Cantlay won four times, including the last two events of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. The world No. 4 won the Zozo Championship last fall, the Memorial in June, and then the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship to wrap up the FedEx Cup Playoffs and the $15 million grand prize.
“Receiving this award through a member vote reflects the respect his peers have for Patrick,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said in a release. “His play throughout 2020-21 was phenomenal, and in stepping up to win consecutive FedEx Cup Playoffs events and the FedEx Cup, Patrick was at his best when it mattered most in our season.”
The other players on the ballot were world No. 1 and 2021 U.S. Open champion Jon Rahm, No. 3 and reigning British Open champion Collin Morikawa, No. 7 and 2020 U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau, and No. 11 Harris English.
Cantlay fired a final-round 65 to defeat Rahm and Justin Thomas by one shot to win the Zozo Championship. He defeated Morikawa in a playoff to win the Memorial. He defeated DeChambeau in an epic six-hole playoff to win the BMW Championship. And armed with a 2-shot lead in the Tour Championship due to the staggered scoring format, he held off Rahm by one shot.
Cantlay, who has six career PGA Tour titles, made 24 starts and had seven top 10s, including a runner-up finish in the American Express and a tie for third in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Rahm made a compelling case for the award. He won the U.S. Open 15 days after testing positive for COVID-19 at the Memorial. He was told of the result moments after completing his third round with a six-shot lead and was forced to withdraw. With his substantial advantage, he likely would have won instead of Cantlay.
Rahm also tied for the lowest total at the Tour Championship with Kevin Na. But because of the staggered scoring system – he started the tournament four shots out of the lead – he fell one shot short of Cantlay.
Rahm also led the Tour in several statistical categories, including scoring average (69.3), total driving, official money, top-10s (he had 15 and no one else had 10), birdie average, Strokes Gained: Tee-to Green, and Strokes Gained: Total.
In the six major championships, Rahm finished in ties for 23rd, seventh, fifth, eighth and third and won the U.S. Open. He also tied for ninth in The Players. Cantlay finished in ties for 43rd, 17th, 23rd, 15th and missed two cuts in the six majors. He also didn’t make it to the weekend in The Players.
But the PGA Tour membership gave the nod to Cantlay and his four wins.