Resilient Cantlay targets world number one
Patrick Cantlay is determined to become one of the best players in the world after overcoming injury and personal tragedy to win on the PGA Tour for the first time.
The 25-year-old American was among the sport's most promising youngsters before suffering a stress fracture of the back in 2013, triggering a struggle with injury that has sidelined him for much of the last four years.
He lost his friend and caddie Chris Roth in a hit-and-run accident last year, just four weeks after being told by doctors to take another extended break from the sport.
On Sunday, though, his perseverance finally resulted in a long-awaited PGA Tour success, Cantlay beating Alex Cejka and Whee Kim in a play-off to decide the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
"There's not a lot of give up in me," he told a news conference after his victory.
"I never really thought about giving it up. I thought maybe there was a chance my back would never feel good enough to play again.
"But, fortunately, I feel great. I have a good program. I figured out a way to feel good all the time. It's all good. I'm happy to be playing.
"But there were some really low times. I'd say I'm better because of it, as tough as those moments were."
Patrick Cantlay's second playoff hole was an adventure.— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) November 6, 2017
But it ended with his first PGA TOUR victory. pic.twitter.com/TGFdHFQiTB
Cantlay has seen several players of a similar age, including Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, enjoy major championship success in recent years.
And the former amateur world number one now plans on making up for lost time by going up against the best on a regular basis.
"I don't feel like I'm behind the eight ball with those guys," he said of the PGA Tour's dynamic young stars.
"It's been great to see those guys play well because I know their games. I know who they are as people. I know how hard they work. I know what they do.
"I feel like I've always been right there with those guys, so looking forward to working hard and hopefully having some battles with them in the future.
"I want to be the best player in the world, and I want to win a bunch of tournaments. I feel like if that's not what you're out here for, you shouldn't be out here."