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marco simone

Rory McIlroy involved in post-match confrontation as United States fight back in Ryder Cup

Europe need just four points in tomorrow’s singles to reclaim the Cup.

LAST UPDATE | 30 Sep 2023

RORY MCILROY HAD to be restrained after getting involved a heated exchange following the second day’s play at the Ryder Cup in Rome.

The world number two was pushed into a car as Europe team-mate Shane Lowry attempted to defuse what appeared to be an argument outside the clubhouse.

Pictures of the confrontation emerged after a fiery conclusion to Saturday’s fourballs session in which McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick were beaten on the final green by American pair Patrick Cantlay and Wyndham Clark.

McIlroy apppeared to take exception at the time to the American team’s celebrations after Cantlay holed a lengthy putt.

Both McIlroy and Fitzpatrick still had putts remaining that could have tied the match.

Arguments reportedly ensued between McIlroy and Cantlay’s caddie Joe LaCava, with the watching Lowry also becoming involved. It is thought McIlroy may have been upset that LaCava stepped across the line of a European putt as he waved his cap in reference to Cantlay’s hatless appearance.

Reports had emerged during the day that Cantlay was not wearing a team hat in protest at not being paid to appear, something he later denied.

After the match McIlroy said the incident would merely add motivation to his desire to succeed on Sunday.

The Northern Irishman said: “Obviously they had a great finish and Patrick made three great putts at the end to seal the deal, so hats off to them.

“They played a great match, yes, a few scenes there on 18 and just fuel for the fire tomorrow.”

It appears the arguments resumed as the players left the course, however, with TV pictures showing McIlroy angrily pointing his finger at somebody out of shot.

Lowry then steps in to usher McIlroy towards a waiting car.

Cantlay was asked about what occurred beside the 18th green after the match but gave little information.

“He is the best,” he said of LaCava. “That is all there is to say.”

Europe will enter the final day leading 10.5-5.5.

Glimmer of hope

The United States gave themselves a glimmer of hope of retaining the Ryder Cup as Patrick Cantlay holed a 30-foot putt on the final green on Saturday to reduce Europe’s lead to 10.5-5.5 ahead of the closing singles.

Cantlay and Wyndham Clark won the last two holes to beat Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick 1-up in the gathering gloom as the Americans grabbed the afternoon fourballs session 3-1.

But the visitors will still need the biggest Sunday comeback in Ryder Cup history to lift the trophy on European soil for the first time since 1993.

“It felt big, just trying to get any momentum we can going into tomorrow,” said Cantlay who competed without a cap, reportedly in a protest over players not being paid.

McIlroy and Fitzpatrick led 1-up with three holes to play and appeared set to secure a record seven-point advantage after two days for Europe when the Northern Irishman drove the 16th green.

But Cantlay made a crucial birdie, before making it three in succession with his monster effort on the 18th.

The majority of the US team were greenside and celebrated wildly as Cantlay roared in delight, evoking memories of Ian Poulter’s famous Saturday heroics before Europe’s comeback from 10-6 behind at the ‘Miracle at Medinah’ in 2012.

That was the last time either side won away from home.

Justin Rose and Robert MacIntyre had earlier fought back to see off Justin Thomas and a struggling Jordan Spieth 3 and 2.

The European pair twice trailed one-down on the front nine but rallied as Spieth misfired badly, Thomas failing to shoulder the burden alone.

MacIntyre had missed a succession of putts over the weekend but made three clutch ones on the back nine.

Rose finished off the job on 16, draining a 19-foot effort for birdie.

Collin Morikawa and Sam Burns gave the USA the shot in the arm they needed in the opening match by racing into a 6-up lead with six to play against Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Aberg.

The Scandinavian duo had thrashed Scottie Scheffler and Brooks Koepka by a foursomes record 9 and 7 in the morning.

But they could not hold off their American opponents who closed out a 4 and 3 success.

Max Homa and Brian Harman won the USA’s first full point earlier Saturday and backed it up with a 2 and 1 win over Tommy Fleetwood and Nicolai Hojgaard in the second match.

– © AFP 2023


Written by AFP and posted on

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