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Patrick Cantlay on his keys to success

By Goldman Sachs Personal Financial Management

Recently, Patrick Cantlay sat down with Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO David M. Solomon during Talks at GS to discuss the experiences and insights that have led him to PGA tour success.


Trust an “ecosystem” of mentors

Cantlay credits the trust he’s placed in the advice of mentors and coaches as key in his rise to the top. At two years old, he was already hitting putts in the backyard with his grandfather and father—a former club champion—who together helped guide his path forward. Experienced PGA Tour coach Jamie Mulligan took over Cantlay’s golf instruction when he was still under 10 years old. Cantlay can remember thinking as a teenager, “Jamie's taken guys to the Tour before. If I just listen to what Jamie says, I'll make it to the Tour.” Cantlay added, “having that ecosystem of knowledgeable people really gave me the opportunity to be good.”

Use patience and hard work to persevere through adversity

Cantlay is no stranger to the unpredictability of life. He described the three years he struggled with a stress fracture in his spine and other personal challenges as a difficult time in his life. He made it through by focusing on his recovery and taking it one step at a time. After taking eleven months away from golf and devoting himself to physical therapy and rehab, Cantlay worked with his coach to rebuild his swing piece-by-piece, taking the stress off his back. Now, after hard work and learned patience, he has no pain when he plays. “I'm a better person for having gone through that,” said Cantlay.

Manage pressure with routine, visualization and work-life balance

When asked how he handles high-pressure situations, Cantlay said he utilizes the power of routine and visualization. “If you can combine those two together, it is as though you’re watching yourself in a movie and you know what's going to happen… it can put you at ease. There's less anticipation. There's less nervousness.”

Cantlay also makes sure to effectively balance his work and home life. “I'll do almost anything to make myself a better golfer. But there's a tipping point where if I go down that road too hard and I don't look for the balance at home, then I'm not as effective at the golf.” Having things to look forward to off the course helps keep him at the top of his game—advice we can all use.

Take a hard, honest look at how you can improve

Cantlay’s drive to be the best has been a source of motivation his whole career. “I try to really ask myself tough questions. Did I do the best job I could have? Was I as engaged as possible? Self-improvement is something I'm always working towards,” he told Solomon. “I think people gravitate towards institutions and individuals that are thinking that way.”

When it comes to making the most of your financial opportunities, it is important to have your own ecosystem of mentors. Our advisors help clients navigate in-house expertise across all aspects of their financial life, drawing on the wisdom that comes from Goldman Sachs’ 150+ year heritage.

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This interview was originally published on

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Goldman Sachs Personal Financial Management

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