As the Shriners Children’s Open approached last fall, it was hard to avoid Patrick Cantlay in Las Vegas. Whether it was billboards along the freeways or advertisements for the tournament, Cantlay was in the foreground.

And why not? Cantlay had just completed a career season, named player of the year by his peers, won the last two playoff events to win the FedEx Cup and played a leading role in the dominant U.S. Ryder team Cup.

A regular with the Shriners, Cantlay has earned a win, two seconds and an eighth in the previous four years.

But when tournament week rolled around in October, Cantlay was a no-show. Then he skipped the prestigious CJ Cup the following week. Then the ZoZo Championship, where he was the reigning champion. Just like that, Cantlay bypassed the entire fall season.

He finally surfaced last week in Hawaii for the Sentry Tournament of Champions, 100 days since playing a PGA Tour event.

Free time, he said, was much needed after such a grueling year.

“In golf there are tournaments all year round where you almost have to force yourself to take time, and I thought this was the perfect opportunity for me to spend a few months and rest my body and my spirit, ”he said last week. . “That way I can play the rest of the year really fresh and excited to go out and compete.”

No sign of rust was visible at Kapalua, where he finished fourth with an incredible 26-minus for the week.

Cantlay said the extended hiatus made him more excited than usual to play once he got to Hawaii.

“As I prepared for this tournament, I noticed that I was even more excited than usual to go out and train, as I had taken some free time, which means I took enough free time, ”he said.

The break, he said, didn’t include much.

“I did a few workouts and kind of spent time at home,” he said. “I travel so much golfing that spending time at home is really enjoyable.”

His home is in West Palm Beach, Florida, where he’s only been recharging for 2022.

“I haven’t done too many exciting things,” he said. “I don’t get up too much when I’m not golfing. I mean, obviously my golf business is the most exciting thing I do. So when I’m at home, reading a book on the couch, there’s really not much going on. “

After his career year in 2021, the next logical step for Cantlay, who turns 30 on the eve of this year’s Masters, would be to win a major. His best results to date came in 2019 with a tie for third place in the PGA Championship and ninth in the Masters.

When asked if he just needs to peak at the right time to win a major tournament, Cantlay wasn’t so sure.

“I think the idea of ​​even thinking that you might be so aware of your ups and downs and being able to predict them so that they peak at the right time is a little crazy to me,” he said. -he declares. “I think preparing each tournament the best you can and not playing too many events so that you are mentally and physically devastated gives you the best chance of performing at your peak every time you fight.”

Bullets

– The Southern Nevada Golf Association is hosting two Rules of Golf seminars this month for players, coaches, volunteers or anyone interested in becoming a Rules Official. Classes take place January 19 at Wildhorse Golf Club and January 26 at Siena Golf Club. Details on snga.org.

– The Henderson Chamber of Commerce Foundation Golf Tournament takes place on January 31 at DragonRidge Golf Club. The profits will be donated to LaunchPad, an incubator space in the city center. The cost is $ 300 per player or $ 1,100 for a quartet. For details, call 702-565-8951.

Greg Robertson covers golf for the Review-Journal. He can be contacted at [email protected].