An unfortunate narrative that often comes out after the U.S. loses a Ryder Cup is that there was either a lack of overall team comradery or outright dissension.
Jim Furyk, the host of this week’s PGA Tour Champions Constellation Furyk & Friends at the Timuquana Country Club, heard it as a Ryder Cup player and captain and he’s hearing it again after serving as one of Zach Johnson’s vice captains in Rome last week when the U.S. lost to Europe 16.5-11.5.
He said reports of disunity are “absolutely not the case.”
“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. “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 reports that Patrick Cantlay ostracized himself from the team and didn’t wear a USA hat during competition as a protest over not getting paid to play in the Ryder Cup were false.
The rumors were so viral that European fans on-site took their hats off and doffed them sarcastically whenever Cantlay passed their way.
Furyk said that resulted in a show of U.S. bonding when the entire team and caddies took off their hats and waved them at the fans after Cantlay birdied his last three holes on Saturday to win a fourball match with Wyndham Clark against Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick.
“I’m not sure where [rumors 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.”
Furyk said Cantlay’s decision not to wear a hat 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.”