Welcome to GOLF.com’s “Seen & Heard” video series, in which we give you an inside look at golf’s biggest events through the eyes and ears of our onsite crew. On deck this week: the 2023 Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome. Let’s go!
Coming into Saturday at the Ryder Cup, Team USA was in trouble.
The Americans were swept in the opening session of foursomes and then went into Friday down 6.5 to 1.5 after watching all of their late leads in fourballs convert to half points at the end.
The dire situation led our team to discuss the possibility of certain former World No. 1’s intervention while on their way to the Marco Simone Saturday morning.
“We may have already gotten a Tiger group text,” Dylan Dethier suggested of the U.S. team members. “And it’ll be one of those texts where the guys are going to be like ‘Oh, couldn’t possibly tell you what he said.’ And it’s probably just like …”
“Get your s–t together,” Sean Zak suggested.
“Stop embarrassing me,” James Colgan added.
If there was a text from Woods to the U.S. team, we didn’t hear about it, but there was plenty of controversy on Saturday to discuss.
Europe dominated the morning foursomes session again, but that’s when things started getting interesting, as a report from Sky Sports’ Jamie Weir said there was a fracture in the U.S. team room. It was reportedly perpetuated by Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele over not getting paid to play this week and Cantlay was protesting by not wearing a cap.
Schauffele and Cantlay ended up losing their match to Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton, but the real drama wouldn’t begin until the afternoon.
First, it was Zach Johnson stepping in to consult Jordan Spieth on club selection on the drivable par-4 16th. Spieth and Thomas were 3 down in their match against Justin Rose and Robert MacIntyre, and after his conversation with Johnson, Spieth clubbed down to 3-wood. He knocked it in the pond short right of the green.
“Zach is obviously going to get asked about that afterward,” Zak said.
“I don’t know how many thousands of golf shots Jordan Spieth has hit in competition, but to suddenly introduce — OK now your captain is going to be your caddie? I don’t get that,” Dethier said.
Johnson was asked about it later and said he was simply giving Spieth “pure data” and wasn’t trying to tell him what club to hit. Rose and MacIntyre won the match, the only European points of the late session.
The Americans kept more blue off the board because Cantlay, fueled by the European fans waving hats at him, in reference to the Sky Sports report, birdied the final three holes to hold off Rory McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick 1 up.
Cantlay was asked about whether players should be paid to play the Ryder Cup afterward.
“It’s not about that. It’s just about Team USA and representing our country,” Cantlay said. “That’s all I’ve got to say about that. The hat doesn’t fit. It didn’t fit at Whistling Straits and didn’t fit this week. Everyone knows that.”
Cantlay said the first he heard about his lack of a hat being a protest was walking off the 18th green. That was also when a confrontation between Cantlay’s caddie and McIlroy happened as well, turning what was a potential boring blowout of a Ryder Cup into a frenzy.
“A report about Cantlay being a divider in the locker room weirdly helped unite the locker room around Patrick Cantlay,” Dethier said.