Welcome to the 10th installment of our “Caddie Confidential” series, with monthly, inside-the-ropes perspective from dozens of Tour caddies on rotating golf topics. Up this month: we tackle a player of the year debate, biggest surprises in the 2020-21 PGA Tour season, which major was the best of them all and which looper should be tabbed “Caddie of the Year.”
Let’s get one thing straight: Both Patrick Cantlay and Jon Rahm put together incredible 2021 campaigns on the PGA Tour.
Ultimately, in a vote among peers, Cantlay received the nod as PGA Tour Player of the Year.
Cantlay had four victories — twice as many as anyone else — and won the FedExCup (with two victories in the playoffs) and its $15 million prize. Just about any other year, his accolade would have been a no argument slam-dunk.
But not this year.
That’s because many felt world No. 1 Jon Rahm was snubbed.
One of Cantlay’s victories came in the Memorial Tournament. If you remember, Rahm had a six-shot, 54-hole lead in that tournament at Muirfield Village but was forced to withdraw seconds after his final putt dropped on Saturday after being informed he tested positive for COVID-19.
Rahm bounced back from that and — in his very next start — became the first player to finish birdie-birdie and win by 1 shot in the U.S. Open. He also finished in the top 10 in the other three majors. In all, Rahm had a staggering 15 top-10 finishes.
The Player of the Year vote had to be close… though the PGA Tour doesn’t disclose the vote count.
So, we turned to caddies to get their take. Did the players get the vote right?
We polled nearly four dozen PGA Tour caddies to get their opinion on the Player of the Year Award, promising them anonymity in an effort to get their most honest answers.
As you will see, loopers were split.
Did players get the PGA Tour Player of the Year vote right?
Check out this selection of responses from caddies:
No, although Patty Ice had an unreal player. I feel Rahm’s major performance and the fact the Memorial was taken away from him should have sealed the deal.
No. It should’ve been Rahm. He won the U.S. Open dramatically and had two other tournaments that he basically won (the Memorial and the Tour Championship, where he tied for the lowest 72-hole score without the staggered scoring) that didn’t count towards his total.
Yes. Patrick deserved it.
It should have been Jon Rahm. He played the best all year.
I just wonder if Rahm had won Memorial if it would have turned out the same. Well deserved by Cantlay though. Great year!
Yes, multiple wins to include the FedExCup sounds like a no brainer.
No. Jon Rahm is the best player in the world.
No. Patrick didn’t win a major. Jon won one and contended in all of them.
Yes. Patrick had a great performance at the right time.
I agree with the vote. I think Cantlay was the best player in 2021.
Yes the vote was right. Patrick’s record says it all!
I thought it should have been Rahm. It’s all about majors in my opinion.
Yes it was right. Patrick played incredible golf the last few weeks to win the FedExCup!
No one was better than Rahm in 2021.
Yes, the vote was right. Cantlay was the FedExCup winner and had multiple wins for the year.
I think Rahm was the player of the year, but it is hard to argue with how Patrick finished the season.
Yes. Either way worked for me. That was a 50/50 vote between Cantlay or Rahm. Both deserved the award!
Tour Championship should have a tournament winner and a season long winner. Rahm deserved POY.
For sure it was Cantlay. He won the golden egg.
They got it right. Cantlay was phenomenal.
Rahm deserved it!
The vote was wrong. I think it should’ve been Jon Rahm. He outplayed Patrick at the Tour Championship and won a major and should’ve won Memorial if not for testing positive.
Interested in more from our October 2021 installment of Caddie Confidential? Be sure to check out the players that surprised caddies most in 2021, which major was the best in 2021 and which caddie would be most deserving of PGA Tour Caddie of the Year honors by their peers if the award existed.
You can view all the results from our entire Caddie Confidential by clicking here.