While Rory McIlroy and Joe LaCava haven’t yet met face-to-face to talk about hat-gate, they have texted, and McIlroy said during Team Europe’s Ryder Cup press conference that everything will be fine.
The pair got into a heated discussion on the 18th green Saturday evening after LaCava made a scene and got in the way.
“It’s a point of contention and it still hurts,” said McIlroy, “but time is a great healer and we’ll all move on.”
It was a Saturday morning report from SkySports journalist Jamie Weir that began a storyline that ultimately engulfed the events in Rome. Weir said Patrick Cantlay’s refusal to wear a team hat centered around his desire for Ryder Cup players to get paid. European fans reacted by waving their hats at the American player all weekend.
The whole scene culminated Saturday evening with Cantlay’s caddie, Joe LaCava, waving his hat after Cantlay drained a match-winning putt to give the U.S. team life heading into singles.
Understand from several sources that the US team room is fractured, a split led predominantly by Patrick Cantlay.
Cantlay believes players should be paid to participate in the Ryder Cup, and is demonstrating his frustration at not being paid by refusing to wear a team cap.
— Jamie Weir (@jamiecweir) September 30, 2023
McIlroy took issue with LaCava’s antics, and his frustrations boiled over in the parking lot when he had to be restrained while talking to caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay. The Northern Irishman texted Mackay Sunday morning and apologized. Shane Lowry was the one who stepped in to pull McIlroy away and get him inside a courtesy car.
“He was the first American I saw after I got out of the locker room,” said McIlroy, “so he was the one that took the brunt of it. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
When asked if he was much of a car-park scrapper, McIlroy said “No, but if I need to … ”
Added Lowry: “I had to do all the work. I was going to have to do all the work.”
Man, he is out there for a LONG time.pic.twitter.com/Tqlj2eNucG
— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) October 1, 2023
McIlroy said he was relieved that Lowry intervened, noting that he took him down to the hotel’s cold plunge to quite literally cool off.
“We talked about it as a team last night,” said McIlroy. “We felt like it was disrespectful, and it wasn’t just disrespectful to Fitz and I. It was disrespectful to the whole team.
“I get that we get the banter when we go over to the States and play, and you know, the same happens here. It’s just the way it is. It the way the Ryder Cup goes. You have to have thick skin. That’s just the way it is.”
Cantlay called Weir’s report “totally false.”
The next Ryder Cup will be staged at New York’s famed Bethpage Black, where fans won’t hold back.