You probably know Patrick Cantlay is an amateur, and is only a sophomore at UCLA. That he has accomplished so much is such a short period, mostly with an incredible 2011 in which he compiled a long list of highly impressive performances, including runner-up in the US Amateur, a 21st place finish in the US Open and a course record 60 in a Tour event, places him in rarefied air with other studly college players such as Curtis Strange, Gary Hallberg, David Duval, Matt Kuchar, and Ryan Moore. Shooting such low scores in big events is evidence that there is a high probability that Cantlay will succeed as a professional.
As for his swing, it doesn’t do a lot of the things that I would say were important to do, but as I would also say, when high levels of talent are involved it really doesn’t matter. His swing pattern is to move his arms out away from his body then drop his hands fairly vertically with a bowed left wrist in the downswing. Most players of lesser ability have trouble with the shaft falling under their hands, but Cantlay has perfect control of the shaft and has it nicely between his arms on the approach in an “unstuck position”, although the hands are a good deal (almost 10 degrees) up from the original shaft plane at address. Cantlay’s left arm is bent a fair amount just before impact, but again it doesn’t seem to be much of an issue. Certainly, there are plenty of great players whose left arms were bent in the forward swing but the amount of bend in Cantlay’s is fairly unique. Again, this is just reporting what is present in the swing, not a judgment on whether it’s good or bad. There are things I prefer for any level player and if Patrick suddenly and utterly lost his game and came to me for help I would certainly change a few things. But no one with a brain would mess with it now. It will be fun to watch him mature as a player and try to play golf for a living, which is not easy for anybody.