Joe LaCava reportedly apologized to Rory McIlroy after tense Ryder Cup clash
UPDATE: Following his 3-and-1 singles win over Sam Burns, Rory McIlroy, in a short interview with NBC, said that he, in fact, had not met with Joe LaCava. We will update this post when more information becomes available.
If you’re still wondering exactly what happened, here’s a quick recap: Rory McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick’s afternoon four-ball match against Patrick Cantlay and Wyndham Clark went down to the wire on Saturday, as the players arrived at the 18th hole tied.
Cantlay drained a 43-foot birdie putt on the par-5 closer, leaving McIlroy and Fitzpatrick with must-make birdie putts of their own to tie the hole and the match.
After Cantlay made his putt, his caddie, Joe LaCava, celebrated a bit too long in McIlroy’s line of sight, irking not only the four-time major winner but also other members of Team Europe who were surrounding the 18th green — especially Shane Lowry, who let LaCava know it. Words were exchanged, and McIlroy and Fitzpatrick ultimately missed their birdie putts, losing the hole and the match, and giving the U.S. a much-needed full point.
The kerfuffle didn’t end there. Later, as McIlroy was leaving the clubhouse, he was apparently still running hot, and a camera documented him shouting at an unidentifiable person while Lowry and Justin Thomas’ caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay attempted to diffuse the situation, standing between McIlroy and the person and guiding him into his courtesy car.
It was a surreal moment. LaCava has nearly 40 years of experience as a caddie, working for players like Fred Couples and Tiger Woods. When Woods withdrew from the Masters and faced another lengthy recovery after having surgery in April, LaCava began working with Cantlay full-time.
After the parking-lot skirmish, LaCava reportedly decided to clear the air, and, according to a report on the NBC telecast Sunday morning, reached out to McIlroy and the European team to apologize, following that with an in-person meeting with McIlroy on Sunday morning.
Unfortunately for drama-lovers, Cantlay and McIlroy are not facing each other in Sunday singles.
McIlroy is playing Sam Burns in Match 4, while Cantlay is taking on Justin Rose in the pairing ahead of McIlroy in Match 3.