Get the popcorn ready, because the last day of this year’s Ryder Cup golf tournament at the
– country club in Rome, has all the ingredients of a winning recipe, but it can also overcook.
On the first two days, there was drama, tension and passion, tears of sadness and joy, tempers flaring and thousands of noisy and singing spectators who kept the adrenaline pumping.
The European team leads 10½ – 5½ after the second day with Sunday’s remaining 12 singles matches deciding whether Europe, which needs 14½ points to wrest the trophy from the Americans, will taste joy.
Since the tournament was played for the first time 96 years ago, no team could win with a deficit of five points on the last day. It happened twice that a team that trailed by 6-10 was able to turn things around – in 1999 at Brookline when the Americans fought back and again in 2012 at Medinah when Europe grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat.
Sometimes tempers flared on the second day in front of thousands of spectators.
The passionate Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy had angry words with Joe LaCava, the jockey of Patrick Cantlay, on the 18th hole.
This followed after Cantlay, who apparently refuses to wear an American cap because he is not paid to play, birdied the 16th and 17th holes to overtake McIlroy and his playing partner Matt Fitzpatrick.
Cantlay scored another birdie on the 18th hole with a long putt to put the pressure squarely on McIlroy to clinch the match.
LaCava, who was standing close to McIlroy as Cantlay hit his putt, joined the rest of the American team who had gathered around the 18th hole to cheer and wave their caps in the air along with hundreds of American fans.
McIlroy resented it because he had yet to putt and addressed LaCava about it.
An unsteady McIlroy could not succeed with his putt.
The European team captain, Luke Donald, says McIlroy politely asked LaCava to step aside, but he continued to wave his cap.
“It upset Rory,” Donald said, according to the BBC.
Zach Johnson, the American team captain, says there was nothing wrong with the way LaCava and Cantlay celebrated.
“A celebration is a celebration. With such an important putt on the 18th hole of the Ryder Cup tournament, I think you have every right to celebrate with your team,” Johnson said in his media interview according to the BBC.
But that’s not where it ended, because Shane Lowry, one of McIlroy’s teammates, had to restrain McIlroy in the parking lot a while later to prevent things from getting out of hand.
Saturday morning’s four-match results (Europe called first): Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood beat Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth 2 and 1; Viktor Hovland and Ludwig Aberg beat Scottie Scheffler and Brooks Koepka 9 and 7; Shane Lowry and Sepp Straka lost 4 and 2 against Max Homa and Brian Harman; Jon Rahm and Tyrrel Hatton beat Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele 2 and 1.
Saturday afternoon: Viktor Hovland and Ludwig Aberg lost 4 and 3 to Sam Burns and Collin Morikawa; Tommy Fleetwood and Rasmus Hojgaard lost 2 and 1 against Max Homa and Brian Harman; Justin Rose and Roberty MacIntyre beat Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas 3 and 2; McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick lose by one to Patrick Cantlay and Wyndham Clark.
* Europe 10½, America 5½.
Sources: BBC and The Golf Channell.