Patrick Cantlay finished second at the Valspar Championship, which means he gets his PGA Tour card for the rest of the 2016-17 PGA Tour season. Cantlay had been playing on a medical extension -- after suffering a back injury -- and needed to reach a certain monetary threshold to keep his card. His near win at Innisbrook on Sunday was enough.
But as you would expect from a former No. 1-ranked amateur in the world, Cantlay was pretty mellow about the whole thing.
“Yeah, I guess it’s the one positive from this week,” said Cantlay, who bogeyed 18 to drop the Valspar Championship to Adam Hadwin. “But I’m not really thinking about the next tournament. I was just trying to go out and win a golf tournament.”
This is why former No. 1-ranked amateurs are built: to win golf tournaments. If you’re good enough to rise to No. 1 in the world as an amateur, you’re good enough to win on any circuit, including the PGA Tour.
Cantlay holds the longest consecutive run at No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings. He held the sopt from June 2011 to June 2012. He was No. 1 for 54 consecutive weeks and added another to make it 55 overall. Only Spaniard Jon Rahm has more with 55.
“My game’s good, you know,” said Cantlay on Sunday. Again, the type of thing a former No. 1 amateur would say.
“I’m excited to be playing tournament golf and I’m going to try to win the next one,” he added. “I didn’t feel like there was much rust. I felt good today. I felt like I was ready to go. Game feels really good. Everything felt good. It’s funny how fast it comes back actually.”
This is the pedigree. The talent, it’s always there. Not all former No. 1 amateurs find success, though. Some like Cantlay get injured and never recover. Some never get the break they need.
Let’s take a look back at the 29 golfers who have all at least been able to call themselves the No. 1-ranked amateur golfer in the world since the WAGR started back in 2007. You’ve heard of many of these names, while others have likely passed you by.
Here is a look in chronological order of when they became No. 1 and what they are doing these days.
1. Richie Ramsay (Total weeks at No. 1: 2): Ramsay has built a solid European Tour career where he has won three times and rose as high as No. 52 in the world.
2. Rory McIlroy (1): You may have heard of him.
4. Jamie Lovemark (8): He attended USC, and after some back injuries, finally broke through a bit on the PGA Tour last year with a second-place finish and $1.94 million in prize money. He has made over $3 million in his career on the PGA Tour.
5. Rickie Fowler (36): Believe you have heard of this guy as well.
There are now 6 players currently 28 or younger with 4+ PGA Tour wins:— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) February 26, 2017
6. Colt Knost (5): Out for a few months after wrist surgery, but he has made $4.2 million in his career even though he has not won on the PGA Tour.
7. Danny Willett (12): One of only two guys on this list with a green jacket.
8. Michael Thompson (1): Won the 2013 Honda Classic.
9. Danny Lee (34): Won the 2015 Greenbrier Classic.
10. Scott Arnold (5): The Australian has put together a career on some of the smaller tours, but he has never risen past No. 397 in the world.
11. Morgan Hoffmann (2): Last seen flying himself to the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
12. Nick Taylor (20): Won the 2014 Sanderson Farms Championship. Taylor has made over $2 million in three years on the PGA Tour.
13. Victor Dubuisson (8): The Frenchman has two top 10s at majors and two wins on the European Tour, plus an appearance on the European team at the Ryder Cup.
14. Matteo Manassero (18): Italy representing here. Manassero was a once-promising teen who finished low amateur at the 2010 Masters. He has four wins on the European Tour but none since 2013.
15. Peter Uihlein (49): The former Oklahoma State Cowboy is currently playing quite well on the European Tour. He has three top 10s on that tour this year and is ranked No. 22 in the Race to Dubai.
16. Jin Jeong (5): Got inside the top 250 in the world a few years ago but has since fallen outside the top 1,000. Mostly plays the PGA Tour of Australasia.
18. Patrick Cantlay (55): Finished second at the Valspar Championship and still has yet to hit 30 career PGA Tour events as a pro.
19. Jordan Spieth (5): He’s been decent as a pro.
20. Chris Williams (46): The former Washington Husky has strung together a career on mini tours, but he is currently ranked closer to No. 2,000 in the world than No. 1,000.
21. Hideki Matsuyama (1): Currently the No. 4 golfer in the world. It’s crazy that he was the No. 1 amateur for just one week.
22. Brady Watt (1): The Australian has played on the PGA Tour Latin America the last few years. He is ranked No. 1,205 in the world.
23. Cheng-tsung Pan (8): Currently ranked No. 128 in the world, Pan finished T2 at the Farmers Insurance Open behind another guy on this list (see below).
24. Matthew Fitzpatrick (21): He has won three times on the European Tour and was a member of the 2016 European Ryder Cup team.
25. Cory Whitsett (25): A former Alabama player, he is ranked No. 1,893 in the world and has bounced around between the Web.com Tour and several other tours.
26. Patrick Rodgers (16): Shares the all-time wins record at Stanford with Tiger Woods. He has one second-place finish on the PGA Tour and has earned just under $3 million.
27. Ollie Schniederjans (41): With three top-10 finishes in just 11 starts so far this season, e is ranked No. 137 in the world.
28. Jon Rahm (60): Won the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open and is currently No. 26 in the world.
29. Mavrick McNealy (42): He’s one tournament win from breaking the career record for tournament wins currently held by Woods and Rodgers.