‘They haven’t figured it out’: Patrick Cantlay mystified by glut of ‘distance-based’ PGA Tour venues
WILMINGTON, D.E. — Despite winning at what could be described as a “bomber’s paradise” at last year’s BMW Championship, Patrick Cantlay doesn’t seem to be so thrilled about being at another one.
“I’m so surprised that [the Tour hasn’t] figured it out,” Cantlay said Tuesday ahead of his title defense at Wilmington Country Club. “It just seems like we’re getting more and more of the same bomb-it-as-far-as-you-can golf courses week after week.”
The 7,534-yard South Course at Wilmington Country Club is making its PGA Tour debut this week and many players have commented, one way or another about the sheer length of the course. Last year’s BMW host, Caves Valley in Maryland, was also considered bomber-friendly and led to crazy-low scoring.
“The way we combat the distance, the way these architects seem to think they want to combat distance is by taking all the trees out and playing it 7,600 yards and put the tees way back and all the par-5s are at 600 yards,” Cantlay said. “I don’t think that makes any sense.
“I’m surprised every time I come to a golf course where they say it’s recently been redone and then there’s no real shaping of golf shots. It’s just how far can you hit it and grab your driver on every hole and hit it as high and hit it as far as you possibly can. If you can hit it 315 yards, you’ve taken out all the bunkers, and you’re maybe in the rough, but it’s way better in the rough with a 9- or 8-iron than it is maybe in the fairway with a 5-iron if you were to lay up to the fat part of the fairway before the bunkers.”
Cantlay went on to win last year’s FedEx Cup after his triumph at Caves Valley, but he did so as just the 50th-ranked player in driving distance on tour. Bryson DeChambeau, on the other hand, finished tied with Cantlay at last year’s BMW at 27-under through 72 holes. DeChambeau averaged more than 340 yards off the tee that week.
But Cantlay said many of the players who hit it long tend to skip the smaller, more strategic courses on Tour.
“It’s so surprising to me that the golf courses that none of the guys who hit it far, they don’t go to Hilton Head, they don’t go to Colonial, they don’t go to the short, small, dogleggy tree-lined golf courses,” he said.