Fred Couples, the beloved golfer by fans across the globe, recently attended the Ryder Cup in Rome as one of the assistant captains for Team USA. During his time at the event, he joined PGA Tour radio to discuss the tensions that arose between Rory McIlroy and caddie Joe LaCava during the competition.
The incident in question occurred on Saturday morning after Patrick Cantlay made an incredible 43-foot putt to secure a victory against McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick. The American team, including LaCava, celebrated the win passionately, waving their caps to the cheering crowd. Unfortunately, what followed overshadowed the celebration.
Couples shared his account of the event, revealing the exchange between McIlroy and LaCava. He explained, “I asked Joe LaCava what was said. He said Rory looked at him and said, ‘Moooove,’ and he made the ‘ooo’ last a little longer. Joe replied, ‘Relax Rory.’ Then people think he shushed Rory when he did that hand gesture. Little Harry Diamond, who we all love too, caddies for Rory, then he chimed in. Joe said, ‘I don’t have time for you.’ Then Joe turned to get out of the way.”
Couples added that while Shane Lowry and Thomas Bjørn shouted at LaCava, defending their teammate (McIlroy), there was nothing wrong with their actions. He emphasized that no one bumped into McIlroy or stood over him, explaining that it wouldn’t have even been considered a taunting penalty in college football. According to Couples, LaCava had kept his distance and was approximately six feet away from McIlroy.
However, despite the incident occurring on the golf course, it spilled over into the parking lot afterward. Video footage later emerged of McIlroy having a heated exchange with LaCava, with Lowry holding him back.
Couples expressed his disbelief that anyone would think the European team was disrespected, asking incredulously, “Did anyone disrespect the European team?” He believed that LaCava’s actions were likely not right but noted that there wasn’t any intentional disrespect.
Couples’ account of the incident is significant as it is one of the first to surface, particularly from an American perspective. Following the altercation, LaCava was unable to speak to the media, making Couples’ retelling an important insight into the events that transpired.
In conclusion, Fred Couples shed light on the tensions between Rory McIlroy and Joe LaCava during the Ryder Cup. While the incident caused some commotion, Couples clarified that there was no intentional disrespect towards the European team. As a beloved figure in the golfing community, Couples’ account provides valuable perspective on the incident.