Inside one of the most engrossing moments you’ll see: Patrick Cantlay hit the impossible

Patrick Cantlay hit the impossible during the RBC Heritage final round. Here’s a look at one of the most engrossing moments you’ll see.

The post Inside one of the most engrossing moments you’ll see: Patrick Cantlay hit the impossible appeared first on Golf.

Patrick Cantlay hit the impossible during the RBC Heritage final round. Here’s a look at one of the most engrossing moments you’ll see.

The post Inside one of the most engrossing moments you’ll see: Patrick Cantlay hit the impossible appeared first on Golf.

He did what?

What would he do?

He did what?!?

And that’s the short way to describe one of the more engrossing golf moments you’ll see. In the end, after a mishit, after his ball settled between a wooden bulkhead and a wooden support post alongside water, after five minutes of debate on what to do, Patrick Cantlay bogeyed the 197-yard, par-3 14th at Harbour Town Golf Links during Sunday’s final round of the RBC Heritage

But there were oh-so-many questions. 

What happened ahead of the shot?

After hitting his tee shot left of the green, Cantlay faced a delicate, speedy, left-to-right, downhill chip from 18 feet away. Hit it long, and the ball would likely go in the water. Moments earlier, Jordan Spieth, one of his playing partners, had almost done so. 

If you were watching the CBS broadcast, analysts Trevor Immelman, Ian Baker-Finch and Frank Nobilo were joined by Jon Rahm, who had just finished play, one week after winning the Masters

Said Baker-Finch: “The experience of seeing it [Spieth’s chip] and knowing that, hey, I just got to be careful here. If I just drip it on the green, I get it down to 6 feet.” 

Said Rahm: “Yeah, exactly. He’s probably going to want to just carry those sprinklers by maybe 5 feet and then release down. If you hit it a little bit too hard, try to get it to the hole, you can end up going to the back fringe or put the water in play. It all depends on the lie. If they have a good lie and put some spin on it, you can be a little more aggressive. But it’s a tough shot.”

What happened on the shot? 


Cantlay hit his ball out toward the left, about 20 feet from the hole. It trickled left to right. It rolled past the hole. 

It stopped short of the water. It settled between the wooden support post and the wooden bulkhead that were to the right of the green. About a quarter of the ball was unseen. 

Said Immelman: “Oh word.”

Said Baker-Finch: “Well, that’s exactly what we were talking about and how so quickly it can get away from you.” 

Said Immelman: “That’s like basketball when the ball gets between the hoop and the backboard. That’s just wedged in there.” 

Said Baker-Finch: “I doubt he can play that. I don’t think he will.”

Could Cantlay have taken a drop? 

He could have, for one penalty stroke. The ball had crossed the red-lined penalty area, and he could take stroke-and-distance, back-on-the-line or lateral relief, all under Rule 17.1d.

Said rules official Mark Dusbabek on the CBS broadcast: “It is in the penalty area. So his options are either to try and play it, which you don’t know what’s going to happen with the bulkhead. Otherwise, you can take relief and take his reference point from where he last crossed the margin of the penalty area.” 

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What could have gone wrong when Cantlay hit it?

A lot. 

The ball could have stayed stuck.

The ball could have popped up — and went straight down. 

The ball could have trickled to the left or to the right.  

Or something totally else. Could he have fallen in the water? Also a possibility. These things don’t happen often. You don’t practice this. 

Said Immelman: “Because it’s sitting down, if he goes in and hits it, it might kick backwards and then drop down into the water.” 

What did the analysts think Cantlay should have done?

Drop. Try to make your bogey. Move on. 

Avoid the blowup. 

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Said Baker-Finch: “Yeah, it’s wedged in there. And my fear is if he bellies it to try and hit the ball cleanly, it pops up in the air and spins back into the water. I would not be playing that. I would certainly be dropping that over the edge and hopefully hole the putt for four.” 

Immelman wondered, though, about Cantlay’s position in the tournament. He had started the hole two back of Spieth, who was leading and was facing a par putt. 

Said Immelman: “Put yourself in his shoes here. If you’re two behind and now you’re in this situation, are you going to take a bit more risk because you’re trying to keep pace with Spieth? What would your process be here?”

Said Rahm: “Nah, you can’t. Take a drop. Hopefully make a four. And try to go on a tear the last few holes. That’s all you can do.”

What did Jon Rahm think? 

Outside of the shot — and maybe even including it — Rahm’s time in the CBS booth was outstanding. Twice, he had said that Cantlay should take the drop. 

What did he think was going through Cantlay’s head?

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Said Rahm: “It’s an awkward situation as a player. Because you want to have faith that you can get it down and give yourself the best chance to hopefully make a four. Your ego is almost taking a bit of a hit if you’re taking a drop on a par-3. I mean, he had a 7-iron in and you’re in this situation. It’s tough. It’s tough. I could see Adam [Hayes, his caddie], if this was me, really trying to talk me out of this one. Because as players, you want to believe you can get this done and put it on the green. If he just hits past the hole, it will come right back and give himself a great look at four. But again, like I said, the dangers are great. I mean you have the board that’s wedged in. You have the edge of the green or the fringe. It’s massive risk over something you never practice. There’s too many unknowns in this situation.”

What was Jordan Spieth doing? 

Watching on. Pacing. After Cantlay’s first chip, Matt Fitzpatrick, the other player in the threesome, putted, and Spieth then waited. 

Cantlay’s ball settled at 4:54 p.m. ET, and he didn’t hit again until 4:59. 

What did Cantlay do? 

He put his iron behind the ball multiple times. He talked with caddie Matt Minister. Cantlay wondered if his ball would go backward on impact. He squatted down to take a closer look at the lie. Minister squatted down and looked underneath the post. Minister talked about where Cantlay could drop. 

Cantlay took a slightly open stance. Both of his heels were above the water. 

Said Immelman: “You got to watch out for the double hit here.” 

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Said Rahm: “You got to watch out for a lot of things.” 

Cantlay hit. 

The contact made a clicking sound. 

The ball dropped just on the edge of the green, and it rolled 4 feet past the hole. 

What was Rahm’s and the analysts’ reaction?


Said Immelman: “Oh yeah.” 

Said Rahm: “Incredible.” 

Said Baker-Finch: “Well, glad he went for it now. Just popped out of there nicely. I wasn’t expecting that, I must say.” 

Said Rahm: “I wasn’t either. I mean, everything we said, just nothing.” 

Said Immelman: “Welcome to being an announcer, Jon.” 

Said Baker-Finch: “Welcome to our world.”

Said Rahm: “Oh, I don’t like it at all.”

What did Cantlay think? 

Afterward, he was asked: “Did you waver a few times to drop it, or you were going to hit it all the way and just needed to know how you were going to play it?”

Said Cantlay: “I just needed to make sure I was totally committed to what I decided to do there. I wasn’t decided until the end, but ultimately I thought that if I would have dropped it, it would have meant double bogey more than likely, and I wanted to at least give myself a chance to stay in the golf tournament and try and get it up-and-down, which I did.”

What happened after the shot?

Cantlay made the putt, after Spieth bogeyed. Heading to the 15th hole, Spieth led, by a shot over Fitzpatrick, and by two over Cantlay, Xander Schauffele and Sungjae Im. From there, Spieth and Fitzpatrick tied after regulation play, and Fitzpatrick won after three playoff holes

Said Rahm: ”That is a gutsy play right there that obviously if he goes on to win, we’re going to talk about it for a while.” 

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The post Inside one of the most engrossing moments you’ll see: Patrick Cantlay hit the impossible appeared first on Golf.