US Ryder Cup hero slams Patrick Cantlay’s caddie for “dreadful” Rory McIlroy spat

US Ryder Cup hero slams Patrick Cantlay’s caddie for “dreadful” Rory McIlroy spat

Rory McIlroy was at the centre of the action on and off the course at the Ryder Cup on Saturday after a row Patrick Cantlay’s caddie Joe LaCava, and former USA captain Paul Azinger has spoken out

Paul Azinger has spoken out against Joe LaCava after his row with Rory McIlroy on Saturday.

Former Team USA Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger has blasted Patrick Cantlay’s caddie Joe LaCava after he got tangled up in a row with Rory McIlroy on the 18th green on Saturday.

Azinger, the winning captain in 2008, said LaCava’s actions were “dreadful” as he celebrated in front of McIlroy after Cantlay made a clutch putt to give the Americans a glimmer of hope at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome.

McIlroy and fourballs teammate Matt Fitzpatrick still had putts left to halve the hole, but LaCava stood near McIlroy waving his hat in the air in celebration. When confronted by the Northern Irishman, Tiger Woods’ former bagman appeared to snap back.

Tensions were high late on Saturday after reports from Sky Sports claimed there was a rift in the American camp led by Cantlay’s frustrations that players are not paid for Ryder Cup appearances, refusing to wear a team hat in protest. The American team has denied claims of “fractures” in the team room, and Zach Johnson’s players celebrated in solidarity as Cantlay clinched a crucial point on the last hole of the day, waving their hats in the air.

After their exchange on the 18th green, the argument between McIlroy and LaCava continued in the car park later in the evening, with the four-time major champion caught on camera gesturing angrily in the caddie’s direction.

Azinger was not impressed by LaCava’s actions on the green, although he believes McIlroy reacted differently because it happened in the Ryder Cup rather than an individual event. He told Sky Sports: “Rory McIlroy is the happy-go-lucky guy, I respect him so much, but he wasn’t happy-go-lucky because it’s the Ryder Cup and the intensity is so magnified and it’s real.

“The Europeans have almost deified Seve (Ballesteros), who was one of the most emotional and contentious players in Ryder Cup history. That’s just part of what inspires Europe. Somehow, the Americans are afraid to have these inspirational videos and all that because it makes us more nervous. It doesn’t make you guys nervous.

“In that situation, the happy-go-lucky Rory would laugh at Joey for celebrating and I don’t think there was anything malicious, but it wasn’t happy-go-lucky Rory, it was this is the most intense Rory you will ever see, this is revenge Rory. He cried after the Ryder Cup last time and it affected him.

“I’m not trying to be evasive in any way here. Joey was definitely out of line there, he was in the wrong spot. He just didn’t need to be there and he stayed an extra second and he’s got no business ever saying anything to another player. That is dreadful and that should never happen, but at the same time a normal Rory is going to say ‘Get out of the way’ (in a playful tone), but at the Ryder Cup (it’s different).”

NBC Sports reports LaCava and McIlroy made amends on Sunday morning after the caddie made contact with the Northern Irishman’s camp. McIlroy faces Sam Burns in the singles matches on Sunday, while Cantlay takes on England’s Justin Rose as Europe chase four points to regain the trophy.

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