The outrageous place Sam Burns learned his Ryder Cup fate

sam burns ryder cup

Sam Burns' Ryder Cup experience started in the strangest of places.

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ROME — It’s been a big week for toilet talk in pro golf.

Italy has a way of doing that to outsiders, particularly those of us unused to a world filled with naturally sourced food and bidets. And as it turns out, the golf world’s reintroduction to funny European bathrooms and tasting menus has made us feel primed for oversharing.

Just ask Sam Burns. The world No. 20 is here in Rome for his first-ever Ryder Cup, a week that marks the culmination of an underrated PGA Tour career. Burns was the proverbial 12th man on the U.S. team and has arrived in Marco Simone with all of a first-timer’s spunk, sporting an unmissable ‘USA’-emblazoned mullet atop his head.

Burns has been dreaming about this week for as long as he’s been alive. About what it would feel like. About the memories he would make. About the moment he received the phone call that told him it was all coming to fruition.

But not everything in Ryder Cup week is exactly the way we dream it to be, as Burns has evidently learned the hard way.

During an interview with SiriusXM’s Taylor Zarzour, Burns told the story of the Ryder Cup dream-fulfilling phone call, and about where he was when it happened…

The toilet.

As Burns tells it, he was killing time at a coffee shop on Decision Monday when duty called, so he hustled home.

‘We get back to the house on Monday morning, and I had to go to the bathroom — like, the bathroom bathroom,” Burns said with a laugh.

He hadn’t taken his perch on the porcelain throne for more than a few seconds when his phone buzzed.

“Justin started texting me like ‘Have you heard anything yet?’ and while I’m responding to him, Zach calls me,” Burns said. “So of course I had to answer. He said ‘Hey, as the captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup team, I want to officially invite you.'”

Burns, who had been grinding for the better part of two years to make the team, was overwhelmed.

“I’m like mid-poop and I just start crying because he just told me I’m invited,” he said, laughing. “So while I’m on the phone with him trying to wipe, and get out of there, and also tell [Burns’ wife, Caroline] — I’m still on the phone with him. So I gave Caroline a thumbs-up.”

Eventually, he was able to wrangle Johnson off the phone and, one imagines, commence a proper celebration from outside the confines of his bathroom. But not before the scope of his professional life changed for him … from the bathroom.

“That’s real life right there,” Burns said.

That much is inarguable.

James Colgan Editor

James Colgan is a news and features editor at GOLF, writing stories for the website and magazine. He manages the Hot Mic, GOLF’s media vertical, and utilizes his on-camera experience across the brand’s platforms. Prior to joining GOLF, James graduated from Syracuse University, during which time he was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from. He can be reached at

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