Sep 30, 2023; Rome, ITA; Team USA golfer Patrick Cantlay plays his shot from the 13th tee during day two foursomes round for the 44th Ryder Cup golf competition at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-USA TODAY Sports

The Ryder Cup has not gone well for the Americans. After the third session on Saturday, the USA was trailing Europe by a barely comprehensible score of 9.5-2.5. That score included a 4-0 whitewash to begin the event on Friday morning and a historic 9&7 victory by Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Aberg over arguably the strongest USA team – Brooks Kopeka and Scottie Scheffler. It was the largest margin of victory in any Ryder Cup foursomes match ever.

Given just how poor the USA has been, there were bound to be some slings and arrows and excuses made. It started when captain Zach Johnson said that the team wasn’t feeling well. Although he didn’t say it was COVID, it’s certainly a possibility. There’s also reports of discontent in the USA locker room, specifically around Patrick Cantlay.

Cantlay, ranked 5th in the world and not known for his bubbling personality, is reportedly causing a rift with his teammates. Sky Sports golf reporter Jamie Weir reported that Cantlay is upset at not getting paid for the Ryder Cup, that it has fractured the team, that he and partner Xander Schauffle are dressing separately from the rest of the group, and that they were the ones who discouraged Netflix from filming anything for their successful Full Swing documentary.


Cantlay’s choice to not wear a hat in protest of not being paid is certainly one way to make a statement, especially considering his hat sponsor on tour is Goldman Sachs. It’s also extremely bizarre, but entirely on brand, that Cantlay would refuse to wear a USA hat because he wants more money. The whole allure of the Ryder Cup is that players aren’t paid and that it’s purely for country or continent. Earlier this year Cantlay was called out by name by GolfWeek’s Eamon Lynch for trying to pull off an “artless coup” against PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan to benefit his bank account.

Weir’s reporting was clearly picked up by European fans at Marco Simeone in Italy as they waved their hats at Cantlay during play on Friday afternoon.

That scene then gave NBC analyst Paul Azinger an opening to address the situation. And did he ever. Azinger went on a screed against Weir’s reporting, calling it “garbage” among many other things.

“That’s just hearsay, it’s a garbage story,” Azinger said. “It’s just clickbait in my opinion. And I don’t believe it. Zach told everybody yesterday that this American team wasn’t feeling well. What are they supposed to be all huggy kissy? They’re saying they are separated in the locker room and there’s this big fracture and I just don’t believe it.”

After that rant, Azinger added, “People love to tear people down in social media. It’s a sewer sometimes and I hope I’m right, I just think that’s a garbage story.” He also insinuated that the story could give the USA team a spark as they look to pull off the biggest miracle comeback in Ryder Cup history.

But here’s the thing. It’s not just hearsay. Weir is one of the leading golf reporters in Europe. This is a legitimate journalist who made a legitimate report. His report is on the front page of the Sky Sports website. This isn’t some random Twitter user who paid $7 a month for a blue checkmark that’s just throwing stuff against the wall. Azinger merely hoping a denial into existence when he clearly has no confirmation or new information either way about the story isn’t helpful either.

Moreover, Sky Sports and NBC are both part of the same Comcast corporate family, so if anything NBC should be talking to Weir directly about his report. Azinger has always passionately defended the USA team, so it’s no surprise that he would try to downplay or outright reject a negative story. But to frame it as hearsay, clickbait, and garbage is just not the reality of the situation.