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England’s Matt Wallace got into a heated discussion with his caddie towards the end of the third round of the Valspar Championship.
Wallace, 32, goes into the final round of the tournament just three shots off the pace as he chases his first PGA Tour title.
However, he could have been even closer to the lead had he not made bogey at the 17th – and that set the tone for spiky scenes on the 18th.
After flaring his tee shot to the right, Wallace found his ball sitting on an asphalt cart path. Knowing that he would have had to take a drop off the pine straw, the world No.209 decided to hit an iron off the path instead. His contact wasn’t perfect, though, and the ball came up 30 yards short of the green.
That prompted him to look at his French caddie, Sam Bernard, in disbelief, with television cameras capturing a feisty exchange between the pair. At one point, Wallace could clearly be seen telling his looper to “shut the f*** up”.
Judge for yourself here.
Matt Wallace berating his caddie at Valspar for a club decision on shot off the cart-path pic.twitter.com/v8DbE4neGq
— Gator Wagers (@WagersGator) March 18, 2023
Speaking to reporters afterwards, Wallace explained the incident.
“It was a question at a time where I’ve decided to play off the cart path,” he explained. “He’s said, as I’m getting my routine ready, he said, ‘Shall we drop it?’, asking me a question. And I was like, I would have made a drop, I’d have dropped it if I’d wanted to. So, I was just saying, listen, my flow was ready, I was ready to hit the shot and then my focus was taken away from the shot a little bit
“He’s been brilliant all day. In that weather, for me to trust him all day like I did, and then we get to the last and it was just the rhythm – you know, it was a valid question from him but then, afterwards, he said maybe the dust and the ball above my feet, and stuff like that.
“So, that was just something [that happened] in the moment and then he was bang on it, onto the next shot. He was like, right, we’re here now, let’s get this up and down, let’s get it in the house and we go again tomorrow. He was great today. And a special shoutout on the 12th hole because the wind was all over the place and we made birdie, so that was all on him.”
The pair reportedly “hugged it out” on the practice green shortly after.
Wallace, of course, is no stranger to caddie controversies. After hitting his tee shot into water on the final hole of the 2019 BMW International Open – whilst in contention – the Englishman was seen berating his then caddie Dave McNeilly. He was widely condemned for that incident and subsequently detailed his regret over his handling of it.
“I should have saved it for after the round,” he said. “My parents told me, ‘You’ve got to remember that you’re in the limelight now. It’s not like you’re playing on the Alps Tour where there are no cameras around and nobody’s watching. You’ve got to control your emotions more and think about what you’re going to say or do on the golf course.’”
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