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01st Oct 2023

Paul McGinley explains what actually riled Rory up so much as more footage emerges of confrontation

Niall McIntyre

“Shane Lowry, with that bit of GAA blood in him, he tried to un-ravel the situation.” – Paul McGinley, from one Irishman to another.

Looking for long stages like a dead-duck, the 2023 Rome Ryder Cup finally has a bit of spice.

As Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Aberg embarrassed Brooks Koepka and Scottie Scheffler in a nine and seven foursomes victory, it looked for all the world as if this Ryder Cup was over.

Nine and a half to two and a half looked after all, like a straight-up, unassailable lead for the Europeans.

The E was already inscribed on the trophy.

But finally, in the Saturday evening fourballs, Zach Johnson’s US team woke up.

As ever, it took a bit of ire and tension to get them going and not unusually, that arrived in a round-about manner through the medium of thier divisive team member Patrick Cantlay.

All over the headlines this year, due to his slow pace of play, Cantlay was again cast for the role of pantomime villain on Ryder Cup Saturday. Unfortunately for the Europeans, he loved every second of it.

The European fans mocked him for not wearing a cap – ‘Hats off for your bank account,’ they chanted – a reference to a report earlier in the day which stated he wasn’t wearing a cap in protest at not getting paid to play in the Ryder Cup.

Cantlay since denied that accusation. But the European fans didn’t care.

Ryder Cup controversy

They riled him and riled him to the extent that, from one down with three to play, he birdied the last three holes to win on the last, handing Rory McIlroy (partnered with Matt Fitzpatrick) his first loss of the week.

Cantlay’s caddie Joe LaCava then stepped up to the plate, waving his hat at the crowd in celebration of Cantlay’s birdie on the last.

Rory McIlroy, who still had a birdie chance on the hole, wasn’t happy with LaCava and asked him to move. The caddie barked back and then, from zero to ninety, it all kicked off.

It led to confrontational words in the car-park, again between McIlroy and LaCava. Reports initially stated that McIlroy was having a go at Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay, the caddie of Justin Thomas, but as Paul McGinley explained on Sky Sports this morning, that wasn’t the case.

McGinley also explained that the real reason McIlroy was so worked up wasn’t the waving of the hat, it was that LaCava continued to talk to him as he lined up his putt.

“Rory had no problem with him taking off his hat and doing that, the issue was that it affected his preparation for his putt.

“Joe was in his eye-line, was too close too him, and then went back at Rory as Rory was trying to prepare for his putt – and that’s what fired him up. Joe still had a go at him. Joe shouldn’t be involved with a player trying to line up his putt.”

“And that’s a mistake from Joe. He shouldn’t be doing that. I’d agree with Rory. No problem with Joe waving his hat, but you can’t get involved in player performance.”

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