Tensions Boil Over At Ryder Cup As Rory McIlroy In Heated Moment With Patrick Cantlay's Caddie Joe LaCava

European duo McIlroy and Shane Lowry appeared to be unhappy with Joe LaCava's hat-waving on the 18th green on Saturday evening, with words spilling over from the course into the parking lot

Shane Lowry and Joe LaCava in words on the 18th green at the 2023 Ryder Cup
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Patrick Cantlay's caddie Joe LaCava appeared to get into words with Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry following the final Ryder Cup match on Saturday afternoon.

The watching crowds, including the rest of Team USA, went wild as Cantlay holed a huge putt on the 18th green to seal a win for USA alongside Wyndham Clark vs Rory McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick.

The American players and their team members were waving their hats to the hat-less Cantlay's clutch moment, including his own caddie Joe LaCava.

In the moment, LaCava appeared to upset some of the European team, with the celebrations from the holed putt coming right before Rory McIlroy had an effort to halve the match. McIlroy reportedly "took issue" with LaCava's celebrations according to the US broadcast, with Shane Lowry and LaCava then giving each other a "bit of lip".

Watch McIlroy and Joe LaCava incident:

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LaCava was seen on the broadcast exchanging words and in official photographs taken by the on-site press.

"Rory McIlroy took issue with him waving the hat before he had to make his putt there, and then when he turned around Shane Lowry gave Joe a little bit of lip and Joe gave it right back to Shane," Steve Sands said on the broadcast.

"This thing's getting heated out here."

Joe LaCava and Rory McIlroy shake hands

McIlroy and LaCava shook hands after the match before more words

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The heated words appeared to have been settled on the 18th green but TV footage showed the exchanges spilling into the parking lot.

A clip showed McIlroy saying expletives to Jim 'Bones' Mackay, Justin Thomas' caddie, in what looked like the Northern Irishman trying to get a message across to LaCava or others in Team USA via Bones. McIlroy was then ushered into a car by Shane Lowry.

The Golf Channel then confirmed later on air that McIlroy's agent said the incident in the parking lot was "not isolated" and was related to what happened on the green.

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It was a tense moment on Saturday evening as Cantlay rescued a victory for Team USA with a birdie-birdie finish.

Team USA will go into Sunday trailing by five, with Europe leading by 10.5 points to 5.5.

"Matt and I played well. Obviously they had a great finish and you know, Patrick made three great putts at the end to seal the deal, so hats off to them," Mcilroy said.

"They played a great match, and yeah, I mean, a few scenes there on 18 and just fuel for the fire tomorrow."

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2 HL

Irons: Mizuno MP-H4 3-iron, Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5