The Ryder Cup is known for its intense and spirited competition, but rarely does it see as much drama as the 2023 edition in Rome. The Europeans had a commanding lead of 10.5 to 5.5 going into the Sunday singles session, but it was Saturday evening that had fans glued to their screens.
After the eight Saturday matches concluded, a heated incident unfolded in the parking lot of the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club. Rory McIlroy was caught on camera screaming at Justin Thomas’ caddie, Jim “Bones” Mackay. The exact reason for McIlroy’s anger is still unclear, but it was likely related to an incident that occurred earlier on the 18th green involving Patrick Cantlay’s caddie, Joe LaCava.
Cantlay made an impressive 40-foot putt on the 18th for birdie, ultimately winning the hole and the match against McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick. However, LaCava’s celebratory actions during McIlroy’s putt seemed to have sparked the confrontation. Despite McIlroy and Fitzpatrick still having putts to match Cantlay, LaCava lingered and continued to wave his hat at the crowd, in what appeared to be a disrespectful gesture.
U.S. captain Zach Johnson stated in a press conference that he saw passion and the essence of the Ryder Cup in the incident, but believed that tensions had calmed after the match. However, McIlroy’s frustration with the incident or something related to it was evident as he vented his anger towards his own caddie, Mackay.
European captain Luke Donald confirmed that McIlroy was upset about what happened on the 18th green. He mentioned that McIlroy had politely asked LaCava to move aside, as he was in his line of vision. However, LaCava did not move for some time and continued to wave his hat, which understandably upset McIlroy.
The incident unfolded partly because of an earlier report that Cantlay was upset about not being paid for playing in the Ryder Cup and decided not to wear a hat as a protest. However, Cantlay denied this claim, stating that the hats simply do not fit him well. Nevertheless, fans in the crowd started waving their hats at him as a response to the initial report, which escalated the situation.
All of this drama injected some much-needed excitement into a lopsided Ryder Cup and added anticipation for the Sunday singles matches. It gave the U.S. team momentum while giving the Europeans a cause to rally behind. The incident served as a reminder that the Ryder Cup is not just about the golf but also about the passion, energy, and respect displayed by the players.
As the final day of the Ryder Cup approaches, fans are eagerly waiting to see how this drama will further unfold and what impact it will have on the players’ performances. One thing is for sure, the 2023 Ryder Cup in Rome will be remembered for its intense competition and the unexpected off-course drama that unfolded.