DUBLIN, Ohio – The emotion and intensity felt the same to Patrick Cantlay, whether it was his clutch 25-foot birdie putt to tie for the lead or his 12-foot par putt in a playoff that made him a winner again Sunday in the Memorial.
The handshake with Jack Nicklaus? As special as it was two years ago.
That was as far as normalcy was allowed to go at a tournament that was as much about the guy who won as the guy who didn't play.
Plenty of drama. A little rain. No sign of Jon Rahm.
Some 24 hours earlier, as Rahm pulled away with a 64 to build a six-shot lead, Cantlay already was trying to figure out how low he would need to score to have a chance. And then Rahm was told off the 18th green Saturday evening that his COVID-19 test came back positive, knocking him out of the tournament.
“I would much rather have faced him down today and shot an extremely low round and beat him that way,” Cantlay said after closing with a 1-under 71 and beating Collin Morikawa (71) with a par on the first playoff hole.
“But unfortunately, there's nothing I can do,” he said. “I did everything I could with the cards I was dealt, and I really did a good job of focusing today on the task at hand and staying present. And that's all you can do in this game.”
He did it one putt better than Morikawa, who missed a 6-foot par putt to extend the playoff.