In the middle of Patrick Cantlay’s summer run that hoisted him into the headlines, a Twitter account popped up, purporting to belong to the amateur star. It seemed an uncharacteristic move by the quiet Cantlay. It was. The account was a fraud, and soon removed from the social-media site at the family’s request.
Cantlay, unlike many college kids, has no interest in social media. “I just like doing my own thing,” the UCLA sophomore said. “I’m fine if no one knows what I’m thinking or no one knows what I’m doing on Friday afternoon at 1:57.”
There are plenty of people interested in Cantlay’s inner-most thoughts, though. There’s one question above all the rest that they’d love to have answered: When are you turning pro?
“I’m just worrying about this week and trying to play as best I can this week,” said Cantlay, who is playing the Northern Trust Open on a sponsor exemption. “I’m an amateur this week.”
Cantlay said his father, Steve, and instructor, Jamie Mulligan, have been handling the research required before a potential leap to the pro game.
When asked how the PGA Tour’s proposed Q-School changes could impact his thought process, Cantlay said, “I’m definitely interested to see what they’re going to do with Q-School. But I’m not really worried about it too much. I’m just worried about playing well this week.”
Playing this week’s Northern Trust Open gives him an opportunity to add to his impressive PGA Tour resume and gain tournament experience at Riviera Country Club, which will host this year’s NCAA Championship. UCLA’s campus is six miles from the famed country club.
Cantlay made a hole-in-one with his second tee shot in a practice round Tuesday at Riviera’s par-3 16th. He said it was his second hole-in-one with a second tee shot. He’s never made one on his first attempt.
This is Cantlay’s first PGA Tour appearance of 2012. It precedes his scheduled tee times in the Masters, U.S. Open and Open Championship (he must remain amateur to play in those events). He played five Tour events in 2011, making the cut in all of them and placing inside the top 25 four times. His best finish was a tie for ninth at the Canadian Open. He was low amateur at last year’s U.S. Open after tying for 21st.
Texas freshman Jordan Spieth, the No. 1 player in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, also is in the field. Both played two weeks ago at the Amer Ari Invitational in Hawaii. Spieth lost in a playoff. Cantlay finished 48th, his worst showing in a collegiate event. He is No. 19 in the Golfweek/Sagarins after ranking first last season.
Cantlay will tee off on Riviera’s 10th hole at 8:30 a.m. Thursday in a pairing inspired by the crosstown rivalry between UCLA and USC. Trojan alumnus Jamie Lovemark is in the group, as well as Q-School graduate Tommy Biershenk.
Spieth tees off in following group. He is playing with Danny Lee, the 2008 U.S. Amateur champion, and Ryo Ishikawa.