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Tiger Woods has dished his take on the controversy that transpired on the 18th green at Marco Simone last month.

Speaking ahead of his third competitive return, Woods took the sting out of any lingering tension over Patrick Cantlay and Rory McIlroy’s bust-up in Rome.

The 47-year-old’s former caddie Joe LaCava was in the middle of the fiery contest, but Woods argues it was just ‘noise’.

He said: “Well, what transpired there, it was media, it was just noise. Then (there is) obviously the fact that everyone now carries a mobile device and that was able to spread.

“You’re not on home soil, so they’re going to try to get in your head and that’s what they tried to do. I totally get it. Emotions. We all want to win.

“You have a home side and opposing side, you’re going to get heat and that’s what happened.”

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Reports from the biennial match suggested that Cantlay had refused to wear a hat in protest to not being paid to represent Team USA.

But in the wide-ranging press conference in the Bahamas, Woods claimed that being paid was “not the issue.”

After the car park row, Woods reached out to McIlroy, as revealed by the Northern Irishman in a recent interview.

McIlroy said: “I went back to my room and there was a text from Joe LaCava: ‘Hey Rory, would love to meet up in the morning to clear the air.’ But I was tired and didn’t get back to him.

“There was also three texts and two missed calls from Tiger, because they’re obviously still close. I sent him a quick message: ‘It will be fine … long day … just want to go to bed.’”

Woods remained quiet on future editions of the prestigious event, though.

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When questioned about talk of his name being mentioned with 2025 captaincy, he said: “Right now there’s too much at stake with our tour to think about a Ryder Cup.

“We have to get this done and we have to be focused on this right now. The players and everyone involved understands that this is an issue we need to focus on.”

Despite labelling his game ‘rusty’ ahead of a highly anticipated return, Woods is set for a marathon 90 holes at Albany this week.

The 82-time PGA Tour winner will compete in the Pro-Am tomorrow before teeing off alongside Justin Thomas in the tournament.


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John Turnbull A graduate of the University of Stirling, John joined the bunkered team in 2023 as a Content Producer, with a responsibility for covering all breaking news, tour news, grassroots content and much more besides. A keen golfer, he plays the majority of his golf at Falkirk Golf Club. Top of his 'bucket list' is a round of Pebble Beach... ideally in the company of Gareth Bale.

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