The Ryder Cup took an unexpected turn during a scorching hot day in Rome, as a bizarre news story caused controversies and tensions to escalate. American golfer Patrick Cantlay found himself at the center of the storm when rumors circulated that he was protesting not being paid to play in the Ryder Cup by not wearing a Team USA cap. European fans seized the opportunity to heckle Cantlay at every hole, shouting questions about his missing cap.
As the day progressed, the jokes intensified. Spectators waved their hats in the air, mocking Cantlay’s potential loss of income, and fans sang “hats off, to your bank account” as he walked down the fairway. Although Cantlay initially maintained a poker face, he eventually broke into a smile, although he was clearly irritated by the ongoing taunts.
Cantlay’s caddie, Joe LaCava, further fueled the tension by waving his own hat around wildly, inciting angry boos from the crowd. European player Rory McIlroy, who was trying to line up his putt, glared at LaCava, and fellow teammates expressed anger at his lack of respect. The post-match handshakes led to verbal exchanges between McIlroy, LaCava, and other European players, escalating the conflict even further.
The heated atmosphere continued even after the match, as McIlroy was captured in a video being restrained during an angry exchange outside the clubhouse, involving another American caddie, Jim “Bones” Mackay. McIlroy was seen pointing and swearing at someone off-camera, prompting questions about his behavior.
The tensions between Cantlay and McIlroy were not surprising, given the intense rivalry and emotional nature of the Ryder Cup. With the combination of hot weather, passionate fans, and alcohol consumption, flashpoints were bound to occur. McIlroy’s match with Cantlay attracted a significant portion of the crowd, which included famous personalities such as Niall Horan, Justin Timberlake, and Peter Jones.
Despite the distractions and tensions, Cantlay played brilliantly, matching McIlroy stroke for stroke. His final three putts were sensational, securing valuable points for Team USA and giving them a glimmer of hope going into the singles matches on Sunday.
Overall, the dramatic events of the day showcased the intense nature of the Ryder Cup, where emotions often run high. The controversies and tensions added another layer of excitement to the already heated competition. As the sun set on the course, casting long shadows, the focus turned to the next day and the battles that awaited.