Did Joe LaCava cross the line in tense 18th-hole incident at Ryder Cup?
Check in each day of this week’s Ryder Cup for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors as they break down the hottest topic in the tournament, and join the conversation by tweeting us @GOLF_com.
Tensions seemed to boil over during the final session of Day 2 of the Ryder Cup on Saturday in Rome. Although we’re still sorting through the details, it appears Rory McIlroy was irked that Patrick Cantlay’s caddie, Joe LaCava, was slow to move out of McIlroy’s way after LaCava was still celebrating Cantlay’s made putt. LaCava also exchanged words with Shane Lowry, and video later surfaced of McIlroy yelling in the parking lot. So, what gives? Did LaCava cross the line here?
Josh Berhow, managing editor (@Josh_Berhow): I’m still trying to make sense of it all, but it does appear LaCava was lingering a few seconds too long for McIlroy’s liking, and tensions were already running high and McIlroy was facing a critical putt. LaCava barking at Lowry didn’t help, either. But let’s be honest: after seeing that, plus Rory going off in the parking lot, how much more fun is Sunday going to be?
Dylan Dethier, senior writer (@dylan_dethier): Yeah, he crossed the line the moment he didn’t just walk away but instead turned back around to bark some more at who I believe was Harry Diamond, Rory McIlroy’s caddie (I’m not positive it was Harry, but that was my impression in real life). But honestly my dominant feeling tonight is anxiety for LaCava; I can only imagine how he feels watching it all back. Caddies are never supposed to be the center of attention and this is a guy who spent a decade on Tiger Woods’ bag staying as far away as possible from the spotlight. Now a few months with Patrick Cantlay — and this happens?
Jessica Marksbury, senior editor (@jess_marksbury): Situations like this are so rare in pro golf that you have to wonder if there may be more to this than what we’re seeing on the surface level. And the fact that it involves two of the game’s most reputed gentlemen in Rory and LaCava, well, it’s even more strange! But from what we can see, LaCava was in the wrong. As Dylan said, a caddie’s job is never to become the story, it’s to support their player. LaCava appeared to overstep when it came to Rory’s personal space as he prepared to putt. But, it’s not like LaCava disrupted Rory’s actual stroke. And did LaCava’s behavior deserve a public dressing-down in the parking lot? And would we even be talking about this if Rory made the putt instead of missing? Who knows. But we’re at the peak-emotion stage of this Ryder Cup, so it’s hard to judge either man too harshly.
Alan Bastable, executive editor (@alan_bastable): Mostly I’m grateful to LaCava for making this blowout Ryder Cup more interesting. We desperately needed some spice, and LaCava — regrettably, I’m sure, as Dethier points out — hit us with several dashes of cayenne-grade seasoning. The moment speaks to the suffocating intensity of this event. Everyone is on edge: players, captains, fans and, yes, most certainly caddies. Here’s to a tension-filled Sunday!