The 2023 Ryder Cup, held at Marco Simone in Rome, Italy, had its fair share of excitement and drama. But one unexpected incident involving a hat took center stage and changed the tone of the event.
On Saturday, a report surfaced that Patrick Cantlay, a member of the U.S. team, had decided to go hatless in protest of players not being paid for their participation in the Ryder Cup. This report quickly spread, thanks to the power of social media, and created a buzz around Cantlay’s decision.
During Cantlay’s four-ball match with Wyndham Clark against Rory McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick, fans waved their caps at him and sang and danced. Despite Paul Azinger calling the report “garbage” on the broadcast, the story became a talking point.
The real turning point came on the 18th hole when Cantlay sank a crucial putt and celebrated with fervor. His usually calm demeanor had been affected by the chanting and singing from the crowd. This led to a heated exchange between Cantlay’s caddie, Joe LaCava, and Rory McIlroy.
In the end, Cantlay and Clark won their match, and the celebration was fueled by the hat-related controversy. The energy and momentum that the U.S. team had been lacking throughout the event suddenly seemed to surge.
However, despite this newfound momentum, the U.S. still trailed 10.5 to 5.5 going into the final day. The likelihood of a comeback from such a deficit was low, but there was a sense that something special could happen.
The incident with the hat highlighted a larger issue for the U.S. team—it should not take a controversial tweet or external factors to motivate them. They should be fired up from the beginning, especially in a road Ryder Cup where they face passionate European fans.
Throughout the event, the U.S. team appeared listless and