Rory McIlroy was restrained by Shane Lowry after a heated finish to day two at Marco Simone GC, where Team Europe hold a 10.5-5.5 lead over Team USA; Watch the Sunday singles live from 9am on Sky Sports Golf, ahead of the first tee from 10.35am
By Ali Stafford in Rome
Last Updated: 01/10/23 1:12pm
McIlroy was one up with two to play alongside Matt Fitzpatrick at Marco Simone GC before Patrick Cantlay followed a penultimate-hole birdie by draining a 45-footer at the par-five last to snatch a dramatic 1up victory for him and Wyndham Clark.
Cantlay’s big birdie sparked wild celebrations from the American team, who responded to taunts from European fans about the former FedExCup winner’s lack of hat by waving their USA-branded baseball caps in the air.
Caddie Joe LaCava appeared to step across the line of a European putt as he waved his own cap in the air, with a heated debate ensuing on the 18th green after both McIlroy and Fitzpatrick missed their putts to tie the contest.
Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry and Justin Rose were among the European players on the green during the argument, which carried on into the car park as McIlroy continue to vent his frustration at LaCava.
Justin Thomas’ caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay appeared to attempt to diffuse the situation as McIlroy was pointing and shouting at someone outside the clubhouse, believed to be LaCava, with Lowry intervening to pull McIlroy away from the incident and towards a waiting car to leave the course.
What did Cantlay and his caddie do?
Europe captain Luke Donald revealed McIlroy had felt a “line had been crossed” by LaCava as he celebrated Cantlay holing the putt that eventually reduced Team USA’s deficit going into the final day.
“Obviously I was on 18 and I saw it unfold,” Donald said. “When Patrick [Cantlay] made that putt, Joe [LaCava] was waving his hat – there was some hat-waving going on throughout the day from the crowd, not our players.
“I talked to Rory and he politely asked Joe to move aside as he was in his line of vision, he stood there and didn’t move for a while and continued to wave the hat and I think Rory was upset about that.
“Rory [McIlroy] felt the line was crossed on the 18th green. He is a passionate player – we all are in this event – and I will speak to him later about it.”
Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis reported McIlroy’s agent said the two incidents on the 18th green and in the car park were related, while Cantlay himself said: “I was too busy letting out all the emotion that built up over the day. I didn’t get a good look at it.”
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