Rory McIlroy was the 'disrespectful one' in the furious car park bust-up at the 2023 Ryder Cup, according to Team USA vice captain Fred Couples.
Couples is never shy of offering his opinion and in comments on Sirius XM PGA Tour Radio he accused the Ulsterman of 'using words that shouldn't be said' in front of Jim 'Bones' Mackay's wife.
The looper was caught in McIlroy's cross hairs at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club after the Northern Irishman got frustrated with the antics of Patrick Cantlay's caddie Joe LaCava.
For his part McIlroy said it was 'the angriest I have ever been in my career' and came out firing 24 hours later, putting a crucial point on the board as Luke Donald's Europe defeated the U.S. 16.5 to 11.5.
Couples told the station:
Couples said he spoke to LaCava about the incident in which the caddie told McIlroy to 'relax' when asked to move.
He continued: "I want someone to tell me where anything that happened is disrespectful. I didn't see it. Patrick screamed, which he doesn't do very often and he tipped his fake cap. We all were on the front of the green. No one moved. We just took our hats off and made little circles with our hats.
"Joe LaCava was standing [on the green]. I don't think he moved two feet. People think he shushed Rory when he did that hand gesture.
"Little Harry Diamond, who we all love, too, caddies for Rory, then he chimed in. So Joe said, 'I don't have time for you'.
"Then Joe turned to get out of the way. And Shane Lowry and [European vice-captain] Thomas Bjorn were screaming some things at him, which is fine. I don't have any problem with Shane Lowry or Thomas Bjorn – they're protecting the No 1 player on their team. But no one did anything wrong.
"He [LaCava] didn't bump into him [McIlroy]. He didn't stand over him. It wouldn't be a 15-yard penalty in college football for taunting. He said he was six feet from him. Was Joe right? Probably not. Did anyone disrespect the European team?"
In the immediate aftermath of McIlroy's singles victory against Sam Burns he said he hadn't made up with LaCava over text or in person despite reports suggesting that he had.
Time will heal that, he said.
LaCava said he was told by US skipper Zach Johnson not to talk to the media about their exchange.
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