Rory McIlroy and Patrick Cantlay had an awkward pairing at the U.S. Open, bringing back memories of their heated exchange at the 2023 Ryder Cup. The tension between the two players dates back to the Ryder Cup incident in Rome, where Cantlay’s caddie celebrated excessively after a crucial putt, causing McIlroy to feel slighted. The animosity escalated, with McIlroy expressing his displeasure and Cantlay choosing his words carefully when addressing the situation.

Their clash at the U.S. Open marked the first time they played together since the Ryder Cup, adding a layer of anticipation to their Sunday round. Despite their differences, both players are highly competitive and share a desire to excel in professional golf. Their history of playing together in stroke-play events showcases a close competition, with Cantlay holding a slight advantage in scoring.

Beyond their personal rivalry, both McIlroy and Cantlay have been involved in shaping the future of men’s professional golf through their roles on the PGA Tour Policy Board. While McIlroy has advocated for globalizing the game and increasing revenues, Cantlay has focused on protecting the interests of the PGA Tour and its players. Their differing perspectives reflect the broader discussions within the golf community about the direction of the sport and its governance.

As they teed off at the U.S. Open, all eyes were on McIlroy and Cantlay to see how their on-course rivalry would unfold. The outcome of their round would determine who would emerge as the 124th U.S. Open champion, adding another chapter to their complex relationship on the golf course. Despite their past conflicts, both players remained focused on the task at hand, showcasing their professionalism and competitive spirit in the face of adversity.