McIlroy shows true colours with comment to Cantlay’s caddie before US Open round

June 16, 2024

Rory McIlroy and American Patrick Cantlay appeared to move on from their Ryder Cup feud after being paired together for the fourth round of the U.S. Open on Sunday

Rory McIlroy shook hands with Patrick Cantlay ’s caddie Joe LaCava as the pair moved on from their Ryder Cup spat on the first tee of the final round at the U.S. Open.

McIlroy was paired with rival Cantlay as the duo battle for glory around Pinehurst No. 2 on Sunday. It served as a tantalising matchup for fans given their clash in Rome last year, but it appears they have swept any bad blood under the rug.

Standing at the first tee ahead of the crucial fourth round, McIlroy winked at LaCava and offered to shake his hand. The Northern Irishman smiled and told Tiger Woods’ former caddie: “Let’s have a good day.”

Cantlay also reached out with a fist bump to which McIlroy obliged. It is a much-improved atmosphere than at the Ryder Cup last year.

McIlroy helped Team Europe secure an emotional 16.5-11.5 victory at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Italy to regain the iconic trophy. Fourballs saw McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick as they faced Cantlay and 2023 U.S. Open champion Wyndham Clark.

After Team USA secured a 1-up victory, McIlroy exchanged fierce words with LaCava in a disagreement that extended to beyond the course. LaCava appeared to walk near McIlroy while he was lining up a putt on the final hole of the match, which irritated the four-time major champion.

McIlroy told the Irish Independent : “Here’s what angered me. My relationship with [Patrick] Cantlay is average at best. We don’t have a tonne in common and see the world quite differently.

“But when I saw he was getting stick on the 17th and 18th greens, I tried to quiet the crowd for him. And I don’t think Fitz [Matt Fitzpatrick] and I were afforded the same opportunity to try and hole those putts to halve the match.

“I shook Joe’s [LaCava] hand and Patrick’s hand. Those three putts he made on 16, 17, and 18 were fantastic, and under that pressure, to give your team a glimmer of hope going into Sunday was big balls. So all respect to him.

“There was a bit of argy-bargy at the back of the 18th green with Fred Couples and Thomas Bjorn – and that’s fine – but as I’m walking back to the locker room I can feel this red mist coming over me. ‘No! That wasn’t right.’

He added: “Joe LaCava used to be a nice guy when he was caddying for Tiger, and now he’s caddying for that d*** [Cantlay] he’s turned into an a***. I still wasn’t in a great headspace.”

But on Saturday night after the pairing was confirmed, Cantlay admitted he was excited to play with McIlroy: “Yeah, should be great. I don’t know what Bryson is finishing up at, but to be in second or T-second, I’m in a great spot come tomorrow. It’s a golf course that’s a challenge.

“If you can make some birdies, you can gain a lot of ground. I’m really happy with how I played today, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”