Although Europe had just lost a crucial match heading into the Sunday singles, Edoardo Molinari believes the dramatic events of Saturday evening helped the home side…
Edoardo Molinari said the Ryder Cup row involving Joe LaCava gave Europe ‘fuel’ to win the trophy.
Patrick Cantlay’s caddie LaCava was stood in Rory McIlroy’s line of vision after Cantlay made a long birdie putt on 18 in their Saturday fourball match.
A heated argument in a car park at Marco Simone Country Club followed, which saw Shane Lowry hold back an angry McIlroy and Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay also involved.
Despite losing what was a vital point, vice-captain Molinari believes LaCava’s actions inspired the home team to regain the cup.
“What Joe did on the 18th green, he couldn’t have done anything better for us,” he told No Laying Up.
“If he doesn’t do anything and we just lose the match and we go back, and we’re a bit deflated and it was a bit down because we lost the first session since the start of this Ryder Cup.
“And at the same time, we had a five-point lead, so you can start thinking you just need four points or whatever – it might be a bit of a tricky situation.
“I think what Joe did – we walked back into the locker room and everyone was so motivated and angry and saying ‘This is so good’ because tomorrow, we want to win the session, we want to give them a proper beating in the singles session.
“If Joe didn’t do what he did, I think everyone was a bit sad and a bit tired and we’d have gone back to the hotel, but for 10 minutes, everyone was like ‘Right tomorrow, I’m going to win my point, I’m going to give them a proper beat-up.
“When you have a five-point lead, the right attitude is to try to win the singles and I think Joe gave us a lot of fuel for that Sunday.”
McIlroy said LaCava didn’t “reciprocate” the spirit their match was played in and was disappointed by his behaviour after Europe won 16.5-11.5 in Rome.
He and LaCava, the ex-caddie of Tiger Woods, exchanged texts after the spat and McIlroy also apologised to Mackay over text.
Captain Dodo one day?
Molinari, hired by captain Luke Donald for his Ryder Cup experience and statistical expertise, admitted the event “was a little too close for comfort” at one point in the Sunday singles.
He noted Jon Rahm’s half-point against Scottie Scheffler in the top match as a crucial moment that allowed Tommy Fleetwood to clinch the winning point against Rickie Fowler.
Europe and America halved the singles session 6-6, which was plenty for Donald’s side to keep their unbeaten record since 1993.
Molinari was also asked if he would ever captain Europe one day:
“No, no. Head captain. Absolutely not,” he said.
“I don’t have the CV. I didn’t have the career to be captain. I don’t know whether Luke is going to be the next captain or someone else.
“If they want me to be involved again in helping the team with the stars, whether as a vice-captain or as a stats guy, I’d be very happy to.”
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