KOHLER, Wisconsin : Patrick Cantlay has earned a reputation as being a deep thinker and the American flexed those credentials on Wednesday when he used the card game gin, roulette and mathematics in his bid to explain why Europe dominates the Ryder Cup.
The reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year was not the only member of the American team asked to explain why Europe has won nine of the last 12 editions of the biennial event but easily delivered the most broad and thorough answer.
"So I've read a few gin books. Let's see if I get it right. If you play enough gin hands a one or two percent difference in skill translates to almost an assured win over many, many, many hands of gin," said Cantlay.
"But you could have a big difference between somebody, maybe a 60-to-40per cent skill level difference, and gin is still chancy enough to where you could play 10 hands and lose six or seven of the hands than someone that's much worse than you skill-wise."
By this point Cantlay, who will make his Ryder Cup debut this week at Whistling Straits, was only getting warmed up as he went on to incorporate Las Vegas casinos and probability theory to drive home his point.
"These matches are only played every two years, and golf is very chancy. So would it surprise you if the U.S. went on a similar run to what Europe has been on for the next 20 years. Wouldn't surprise me," said Cantlay.
"You go to Vegas and you play roulette and the chances are 50/50 but skewed toward the house a little, it could hit red six times in a row, but that's not abnormal.
"You flip a quarter it would be weird if the quarter flipped tails, heads, tails, heads, tails, heads. Then you would think something trippy was going on."
Cantlay, who enters the Ryder Cup having shot in the 60s in each of his last 15 rounds on the PGA Tour, then concluded his response by saying he was essentially stumped.
"The captains are different every year. The players are different every year. The venues are different every year. The weather is different every year," said Cantlay.
"You're really going to ask a question like that and think you're going to get the right answer? I don't have the answers to that. This is my first one."
By comparison, Ryder Cup team mate and world number two Dustin Johnson was much more succinct when asked the same question.
"They just play better. It's really simple," said Johnson. "Whoever plays better is going to win. I mean, it's not rocket science."
(Writing by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis)