Couples: What Was Really Said On The 18th Green In Rome

Fred Couples gave an honest, if slightly odd, version of events of the now infamous climax to the Saturday fourballs at Marco Simone.

Couples was once again a vice-captain for Team America, and he had Joe LaCava on the bag for 22 years which explains his loyalty, and he certainly wasn't pointing the finger at any of the visiting party.

For the record Patrick Cantlay, LaCava's player, holed a brilliant birdie putt on the final green, the second of back-to-back birdies, and then watched as Rory McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick both missed putts for the half.

Cantlay had spent much of the afternoon being barracked by the crowd after reports that the American had caused a fractured team room by reportedly refusing to wear a team hat in protest of not being paid for playing the Ryder Cup.

Cue the 'hats off' celebrations, which LaCava appeared to extend too long and too close to McIlroy as he went about trying to make his putt.

“I asked him what was said,” Couples said on his Sirius XFM radio show. “He said Rory looked at him and said, ‘Mooove.’ And he made the ooo last a little longer. And Joe replied, ‘Relax, Rory.'

“I want someone to tell me where anything that happened is disrespectful,” Couples added. “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.

"It’s the last match of the day. We’re getting absolutely hammered. But what, did someone do a Justin Leonard, ran across the green? Patrick didn’t."

Couples then showed his cards a little bit more with how things then got a bit more personal. To be fair to McIlroy he showed plenty of restraint at the time particularly in comparison to what then went on in the car park later that evening.

“Rory, God bless, Rory, ’cause when he makes a putt in the Ryder Cup, he screams and yells ‘vamos’ and ‘let’s go’ and all that. That’s what you should do. 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 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 number one player on their team.

"But no-one did anything wrong. He (LaCava) 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?”

As for that car park incident Couples stuck to his passive aggressive tone.

“He was yelling at Bones, which is disrespectful with his wife standing a foot from him saying words that shouldn’t be said. Now, I’m on Rory’s side too because I love Rory McIlroy to death. But when you’re incensed and you want to fight, you’re going to say things. Is that disrespectful?”

The likelihood is that we'll hear everyone's version of events in the weeks to come. Reportedly La Cava reached out to and met with McIlroy on the Sunday morning to put the whole thing behind them.