It’d be getting too cute to try to put any other duo in this slot.
Not only are Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele two of the best players in this field, but they’re also defending Zurich Classic champions. As well as good friends.
The reasons to roll with these California kids are numerous.
It makes sense two guys with fairly calm, cool demeanors make a cohesive unit.
"“We played together in college around, so we knew each other, and then really bonded at Presidents Cup, “ Cantlay was transcribed by ASAP Sports in 2002. “Fred Couples, he’s amazing as a captain, especially that week, and so him and Tiger basically decided that they were going to put us together through all our time and playing well and enjoying hanging out with each other, we just became fast friends.”"
Last year, they shot 59 and 60 in four ball and 68 and 72 in alternate shot to reach 29-under and win by two over Sam Burns/Billy Horschel and five over the rest of the field.
Two years ago, they tied for low round of the day in Sunday alternate shot with a 67. They shot 64 and 68 in best ball and 74 in alternate shot to finish T-11th.
Both are in fine form.
Cantlay finished in third place at last week’s RBC Heritage. A birdie on the 72nd hole lifted him one shot, and spot, ahead of Schauffele. I’m sure he’ll give X some ribbing for that.
That was Cantlay’s sixth straight top-20 and fourth top-10 in that span.
Schauffele’s solo fourth place finish at Harbour Town was his third straight top-10 and fourth straight top-20.
Both are very efficient, well-rounded players. Fatigue may be an issue on their third straight week competing, but I think they can lean on each other better than any team this week at the Zurich Classic.