The internet was awash with rumours of disunity in the US Ryder Cup camp on Saturday morning in the aftermath of an ‘X’ (formerly Twitter) post by Sky Sports’ Jamie Weir which claimed that there was separation in the US team room with Patrick Cantlay cited as being the primary devisor, but US vice-captain Jim Furyk has moved to dispel the rumours which he described as “absolutely not the case.”
Furyk, who is hosting this week’s PGA Tour Champions Constellation Furyk & Friends at the Timuquana Country Club, was at the brunt of the criticism when the US team last visited Europe in 2018 and were soundly beaten by the Europeans at Le Golf National, and similar rumours emerged, driven largely by Patrick Reed who gave a lengthy interview to the New York Post claiming that Jordan Spieth had requested not to be paired with the controversial player who has since defected to LIV.
“I was in that team room each and every night,” Furyk said on Tuesday during a news conference to promote the World Champions Cup, a match-play event for PGA Tour Champions players in December that will see Europe, USA and an International side lock horns in a Ryder Cup style format. “Those 12 guys really bonded, really got along. I know we’re disappointed that we didn’t bring the cup back to the United States but I can say and I’ll stand by it, those 12 guys really got along well and supported each other. As captains, we couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
Furyk also said that the Cantlay speculation, which resulted in widespread jeering and hat waving from the partisan home support on the back of Weir’s claims that Cantlay was refusing to wear a Ryder Cup branded hat in protest at not being paid to participate were wide of the mark.
“I’m not sure where [rumours of team disharmony] came from, especially after you saw the support Patrick had with the guys raising their hats in front of the green,” he said. “He took a lot of beating that day from, whether it was from the media, from the fans about not wearing a hat, the speculation that maybe he didn’t want to wear the American flag, whatever it may be. I think you saw the support from the players.”
Subsequent speculation suggested that Cantlay may have opted not to wear a hat in order to combat a forehead tan line in light of his impending wedding – he married in Rome yesterday – but Furyk doubled down on the claim that Cantlay’s decision simply came down to being unable to find one that fit.
“Pat, he’s got a big noggin,” Furyk said. “We have a hard time getting him in a hat. He hasn’t worn one for three or four years in the Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup. If he’s going to birdie 16, 17 and 18, he can wear whatever he wants, I’ll say that.”
There is precedent for this, of course. Rory McIlroy has often gone hatless in Ryder Cups, though for the opposite reason as Rory has a rather small head and said that the Nike hats he wears in regular competition have to be specially made in order to fit snugly on his head.
Contrary to Furyk’s claims, however, Cantlay did wear a Presidents Cup emblazoned cap during both the 2022 Presidents Cup at North Carolina’s Quail Hollow and previously at Royal Melbourne in 2019.