Tiger Woods made significant efforts to contact Rory McIlroy during the Ryder Cup after the Northern Irishman was involved in an ugly spat with Patrick Cantlay’s caddie during the second-day fourballs session. Europe regained the trophy at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome after producing a dominant performance that resulted in a 16.5-11.5 victory for Luke Donald’s European team over the shell-shocked USA side.
But things became very heated on Day Two as McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick took on Cantlay and Wyndham Clark in a high-pressure fourballs match.
Cantlay had been forced to run the gauntlet of the European fans after a story emerged claiming that the American was refusing to wear his team cap in protest against the fact that players do not get paid for competing at the Ryder Cup.
On his walk to the 18th green, fans mocked the world No. 5 by waving their caps at him. But after Cantlay successfully sank his long-range putt to ensure that the USA could not lose the match, his caddie Joe LeCava celebrated by standing in the middle of the green ironically waving his own cap.
With McIlory now lining up his putt to try and halve the match LeCava, a former caddie of Tiger Woods, continued to wave his cap in close proximity to McIlory, attracting a glare from the world No. 2. LeCava initially refused to move away from McIlroy as he attempted to line up his putt prompting boos from the galleries. USA would win the match by one hole.
The drama did not end there, however, as the tension spilled over in the club car park with McIlroy caught on camera aiming a tirade of anger at several American team members.
Europe would go on to win the Ryder Cup comfortably but in a new interview with the Irish Independent, McIlroy has revealed how Woods tried to reach out to him in Rome after his public spat with the 15-time major champion’s former caddie LeCava.
McIlroy said (as per NUCLR GOLF): “There was also three texts and two missed calls from Tiger, because they’re obviously still close. I sent him a quick message: ‘“It will be fine … long day … just want to go to bed.”
McIlroy’s relationship with Woods is an important one. They were the most high-profile players to turn down the offer to defect to the breakaway LIV Golf League, turning down millions of dollars in the process as they stayed loyal to the PGA Tour.
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The pair are also part-owners of the PGA’s new technology-led competition, the TGL, which will get underway in January at a purpose-built indoor arena in Florida.
McIlroy’s issue with LeCava appears to be underpinned by his own dislike of Cantlay. McIlroy said: “My relationship with Cantlay is average at best. We don’t have a ton in common and see the world quite differently.
“Joe LaCava used to be a nice guy when he was caddying for Tiger, and now he’s caddying for that d*** he’s turned into a … I still wasn’t in a great headspace.”
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