Things are getting heated in Rome at the 44th Ryder Cup.
Rory McIlroy, after losing 1-up with Matt Fitzpatrick to Patrick Cantlay and Wyndham Clark, went after Justin Thomas’ caddie, Jim “Bones’’ Mackay, in the parking lot at shortly after the match, the NY Post reports.
Why McIlroy was incensed at Mackay was not known, but the belief is that it stemmed from an incident on the 18th hole with Cantlay’s caddie, Joe LaCava, who waved his cap in celebration after Cantlay drained a massive birdie putt to give the Americans the last point of the day to keep the deficit to 10 ½ to 5 ½ entering the Sunday singles matches.
Watch the Ryder Cup LIVE & Exclusive to Fox Sports, available on Kayo. Join now and start streaming instantly >
Cantlay, who hasn’t been wearing a cap at this Ryder Cup, had spent the entire day being chided and ridiculed by the thousands of European fans, who came up with numerous creative chants and, en masse, were waving their caps every time Cantlay walked down a fairway or onto a green.
Cantlay, to his credit, had fun with it at times, smiling and acknowledging the chants like, “Hats off for your bank account,’’ they chanted on the 14th green.
On 18, as Cantlay, who’s a notoriously slow player, was lining his birdie putt up, a fan yelled, “Nobody gets paid for playing slow, mate.”
Then another fan yelled, “Take your time, fella”.
Cantlay then buried his 43-foot birdie putt with the green surrounded by U.S. and European team players, captains, wives and others and the place went crazy.
LaCava, meanwhile, wildly waved his cap to the crowd and kept doing it — even while McIlroy was lining up his birdie putt (which he would miss).
McIlroy’s caddie, Harry Diamond, said something to LaCava and LaCava dismissively, waved him off.
After the match, McIlroy credited Cantlay and Clark for their “great finish,’’ adding, “Patrick made three great putts at the end to seal the deal, so hats off to them.’’
Then he added, “They played a great match, and yeah, I mean, a few scenes there on 18 and just fuel for the fire tomorrow.’’
LaCava, while still standing greenside, told The Post, “I was just having a little fun and wanted to wave my cap.’’
LaCava, who’s highly competitive, had been listening to his player getting ridiculed on every hole and he probably went over the line with his celebration lasting a tick too long.
In fact, after the incident, U.S. captain Zach Johnson walked over to LaCava, put his arm around him and said something to him.
McIlroy obviously took serious exception to it, but it didn’t appear he said anything to LaCava afterwards, although Justin Rose and Shane Lowery seemingly got into a heated exchange with LaCava.
As for McIlroy, when he was about to get into a courtesy car to go back to the team hotel, that’s when he went after Mackay, pointing his finger at Mackay’s chest and saying, “This can’t happen. This can’t happen. That was f***ing disgrace.’’
Lowery had to physically grab McIlroy and separate him from Mackay, leading him into the car.
“I’ll talk with Rory when I get back,” European captain Luke Donald said. “I didn’t see the incident personally. I saw the one on 18 and we always try to play with passion and energy, but play with respect.”
Asked if a line was crossed by LaCava, Donald said, “We’re all competitors, we all want to win, but we want to do it in the right way. From what Rory told me, he did ask Joe to move and it took a long time for him to move and Rory got upset. I understand that.
“We love this event because of the passion, but we want to do it the right way,” Donald went on.
“Rory felt like the line was crossed on the 18th green. I wasn’t in the car park personally, but I will talk to him. We’re a big family this week. We support each other.”
This article originally appeared in the NY Post and was reproduced with permission.