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Rory McIlroy says


Rory McIlroy says angry flashpoint pushed Europe to Ryder Cup glory

Rory McIlroy has explained how his red mist moment, when he felt “the angriest I have ever been in my career”, helped to push Europe towards Ryder Cup glory after the trophy was reclaimed in Rome. McIlroy also confidently asserted that the team will successfully defend the cup at Bethpage in New York in two years’ time.

McIlroy was infuriated by the celebrations of Joe LaCava, Patrick Cantlay’s caddie, as he lined up a putt at the end of a match on Saturday evening. McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick lost by a hole against Cantlay and Wyndham Clark.

McIlroy’s rage continued in the car park at Marco Simone Golf Club, where he was seen in a ferocious exchange with another American caddie, Jim “Bones” Mackay. Justin Rose joked that Europe’s players have labelled the Northern Irishman “Rocky McIlroy”.

Speaking after Europe’s 16 ½–11½ victory against the US, McIlroy said: “We talked about it as a team last night. We felt like it was disrespectful. It wasn’t just disrespectful to Fitz and I. It was disrespectful to the whole team.

“Walking off 18 was probably the angriest I have ever been in my career. I said it to the US guys, I thought what went on was disgraceful. I made that clear. I let it fuel the fire today and it focused me and I was able to go out there and get my point.” McIlroy defeated Sam Burns in the singles.

Expanding on precisely what happened, McIlroy said: “On the 17th green and the 18th green, I am telling the crowd to quieten down to let Patrick hit his putts. I was trying to afford Patrick the opportunity to do what he did, which is great. And then I am trying to read my putt on 18 and he [LaCava] is standing directly in my way.

“I don’t feel like I was afforded the same opportunity to make a putt as Patrick was. I was trying to do the right thing and that was definitely the wrong thing to do. That is not the way this game should be played. Not by a player, caddie, anybody. I thought it was completely disrespectful. It is the angriest I have been in a long time.”

In the car park, McIlroy was bundled into a vehicle by his teammate and good friend Shane Lowry. “It was red mist more than anything else,” McIlroy said.

“I was actually about to drop my bag and go into the American locker room because I was so angry but Shane kind of held me back from doing that. The first American I saw was Bones Mackay and I know he is close to Joe so I let him have a mouthful.”

McIlroy apologised to Mackay by text on Sunday morning. While he has also exchanged messages with LaCava, the pair are yet to talk through the incident. “It is a point of contention and it still hurts,” McIlroy said. “But time is a great healer and we’ll all move on.”

McIlroy revealed he took inspiration from the writings of a Roman emperor before taking on Burns. The American was defeated by 3&1. “I needed to calm myself down because I could have let it bring me down the wrong path, but I didn’t,” McIlroy said.

“I made sure it focused me. I read a few quotes from the great Marcus Aurelius so that put me in the right frame of mind. I also had some nice words of encouragement from my wife and I was ready to go. I am a big follower of stoicism so if anyone was going to get in my head it was going to be Marcus.

“I just thought as a former emperor of Rome and seeing that we are in Rome, it would be a good time to revisit some of his thoughts. So I revisited them on the way to the course today.”

The US have not won the Ryder Cup in Europe since 1993. Europe’s success in Chicago in 2012, their last away victory, was heralded as the “Miracle of Medinah”. Boosted by what he encountered in Italy, McIlroy has backed his team to break the mould. “I’ve said this for the last probably six or seven years to anyone that will listen, I think one of the biggest accomplishments in golf right now is winning an away Ryder Cup,” said McIlroy. “And that’s what we’re going to do at Bethpage.”

Luke Donald was circumspect on whether he would be willing to captain Europe again. He apparently has the backing of his players. McIlroy said: “I think everyone sitting here would be very happy to have him again.”


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