Saturday at the 2023 Ryder Cup was one of the most bizarre days professional golf has seen in years. You remember it, right? European dominance in the morning. An American comeback in the afternoon. A controversial report involving a “fractured” U.S. team room. A hatless Patrick Cantlay. A final match that ended with fireworks on the 18th green — and even more chaos that spilled into the parking lot afterward.
The whole thing centered around Cantlay, who, according to the aforementioned report, was the focus of the U.S. team room fracture and allegedly refused to wear a team hat in protest of Ryder Cup players not being paid.
Cantlay and his teammates and captains denied those allegations in the days and months after, but Saturday at the Ryder Cup was still one to remember. One pro who had a front-row seat to it all was 2023 U.S. Open winner Wyndham Clark, who was Cantlay’s partner in their fourballs match against Rory McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick that Saturday afternoon.
Clark was the guest on this week’s Subpar podcast and talked about that crazy week. The U.S. trailed Europe 9.5-2.5 after Saturday’s morning session, and Clark assumed he would play the afternoon with Max Homa, whom he earned a half point with in their Friday fourballs session.
“And [captains] go, ‘Hey, you are playing with Pat,'” Clark said on Subpar. “And I was like, Woah. Total curveball.”
Clark said he was on the range warming up with Cantlay and could tell something was off. So he got an idea.
“I could tell Pat was kind of pissed and he was kind of quiet,” Clark said. “And I was like, man, we don’t have much team mojo right now. So I turned to Pat and I said, ‘Hey Pat, I’ve played money games with you and you are literally the best in money games. I have never taken money from you. I have shot seven under and you shot 10 under. It doesn’t matter, you beat me in money games.’ So I said, ‘First one to five birdies is for $5,000. Every birdie after that is another thousand. I hope you take me for all the money I got.’ And he goes, ‘Alright, I like that.’ And Joe LaCava looked at me and goes, ‘Nice job.'”
Walking to the first tee, Clark said he reminded Cantlay of the game.
“I know the deal,” Cantlay told him, according to Clark. “I turned to [my caddie] John [Ellis] and said, ‘We are about to lose 10 Gs.'”
McIlroy and Fitzpatrick were 1 up after 14 in a match that was dominated by European chants mocking Cantlay, but the 31-year-old closed the match with three straight birdies on 16, 17 and 18. The final two birdies won the holes, and Cantlay and Clark won the match 1 up.
“He birdied 16 and he kind of smiled at me … then he birdied 17, and then we get to 18 — you could kind of tell he was back in the zone again,” Clark said. “I look back at it and I’m like, Man, is he really going to make this one? And sure enough.”
Clark and Cantlay won the match, but Clark lost cash to his teammate.
“I still owe him money,” he said.
You can listen to the complete interview here, or watch it below on YouTube.