GUIDONIA MONTECELIO, Italy — Rory McIlroy denied a report that he met with American caddie Joe LaCava at the Ryder Cup to clear the air Sunday, one day after their disagreement on the 18th green spilled into a parking lot at Marco Simone Golf Club.
According to a report from NBC Sports, LaCava, who caddies for Patrick Cantlay, sent a text message to someone on McIlroy’s team Saturday night.
“Love you guys, I have nothing but respect,” LaCava wrote in the text, according to the report.
NBC Sports also reported that McIlroy and LaCava then met before Sunday’s singles matches, which the European star and world No. 2 disputed.
“I haven’t met Joe,” McIlroy told an NBC Sports reporter after defeating Sam Burns 3 and 1 in his singles match.
When a reporter asked whether there was no clear-up of what took place Saturday, McIlroy repeated himself.
“I was focused. I was very focused,” McIlroy said Sunday. “I let it fuel me. I didn’t let it take away from what’s been a fantastic week. I used that little incident last night to my advantage.”
McIlroy said the entire European team was using the incident as motivation.
“It was a bit of a deflating finish last night,” he said. “But I think what transpired on that last green, it all gave us a little bit of a fire in our bellies to try and get the job done today.”
McIlroy became upset Saturday because LaCava was standing in his putting line and wouldn’t move. LaCava was waving his hat while celebrating Cantlay’s 43-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole. Cantlay had three straight birdies to help defeat McIlroy and England’s Matt Fitzpatrick 1 up in the final four-ball (best ball) match.
TV cameras later captured Ireland’s Shane Lowry pushing McIlroy into a car while he shouted at someone in the parking lot. Caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay was standing close by. McIlroy shouted: “This can’t happen. This can’t happen. It’s a f—ing disgrace.” Mackay is American player Justin Thomas‘ caddie.
A British media report Saturday suggested that the U.S. team was fractured and that Cantlay was one of the reasons because of his displeasure with American players not being paid to compete in the Ryder Cup. The report said Cantlay wasn’t wearing a team-issued hat in protest, which he denied.
Many European fans mocked Cantlay during Saturday afternoon’s match by waving their hats at him. After Cantlay made the final putt, he pretended to tip a hat to the crowd. Other American players, caddies and team members waved their hats to European fans as well.