Reports suggested that American golfer Patrick Cantlay refused to wear a USA team cap at the Ryder Cup because he was not being paid to compete. The allegations arose on the second day of the event and caused friction within the American camp. Cantlay allegedly made a comment to an American television reporter, stating that he would wear a cap when he was paid to be there, pointing to a PGA official nearby. The incident, dubbed “Hatgate,” overshadowed Europe’s victory over the United States at the Ryder Cup.
The claims that Cantlay believed he should be compensated for participating in the event led to taunting from European fans throughout the weekend. They waved their caps at the golfer and sang songs about his alleged greed. However, both Cantlay and US captain Zach Johnson denied the allegations, stating that they were outright lies.
According to golf website The Fire Pit Collective, Cantlay made the comment to a reporter from NBC, Steve Sands, during his first tee shot. Cantlay allegedly pointed to a PGA official and said he would wear a hat when he was paid to be there. The Fire Pit Collective claims that three people who were present have verified the exchange.
The controversy surrounding Cantlay not wearing a cap caused further disruptions during the Ryder Cup. Rory McIlroy became embroiled in a heated exchange with Cantlay’s caddie, Joe LaCava, after LaCava celebrated exuberantly following Cantlay sinking a putt. The crowd’s taunting, which stemmed from the “Hatgate” controversy, disrupted McIlroy’s putt.
Cantlay defended himself, stating that he wasn’t wearing a cap because he couldn’t find one that fit. He also mentioned that he did not wear a cap during the 2021 Ryder Cup. Cantlay’s caddie’s father, Stefan Schauffele, claimed that Cantlay did not wear a cap because he was getting married immediately after the event and did not want a golfer’s tan in his wedding photos.
Despite the controversy, Cantlay married Nikki Guidish in Rome the day after the Ryder Cup, further fueling speculation about his motivations for not wearing a cap.
In an interview with Sands, Cantlay vehemently denied the reports of division within the American team. He called the allegations “just outright lies” and affirmed the team’s unity throughout the week.
Ultimately, the “Hatgate” controversy overshadowed Europe’s victory at the Ryder Cup and raised questions about player compensation. While Cantlay and the American team denied the allegations, the incident left a lasting impact on the atmosphere of the event and the perception of Cantlay.