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Golf's most famous feuds, from McIlroy and Woods' furious Ryder Cup fight to the Tiger Woods vs Sergio Garcia battle and Koepka-Wag spat

GOLF is traditionally known to be a very gentlemanly sport.

Many of the top stars get on rather well and tend to be gracious in defeat and victory alike.

Tempers often boil over during the Ryder Cup

Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau have not always seen eye to eye

That is especially true of Europeans and with Americans who team up for the Ryder Cup every couple of years.

But sometimes the competitiveness takes over.

So when big talents with even bigger egos lock horns on and off the course, tensions can sometimes boil over.

And that has led to plenty of memorable bust-ups over the years.

SunSport rounds up some of the biggest and fiercest golfing feuds…

Rory McIlroy vs Joe LaCava

Things tend to get heated at the Ryder Cup when Europe and USA battle it out for the biggest team trophy in golf – and the 2023 edition in Rome was no different.

At the end of day two, Patrick Cantlay’s caddie Joe LaCava celebrated wildly with his hat after his man made a crucial monster putt – and goaded Rory McIlroy before his chance to seal a half on the 18th green.

McIlroy was clearly fuming, confronting LaCava, and his mood was soured when he missed the putt and lost the match.


Then it kicked off in the car park as the Northern Irishman raged at Justin Thomas’ caddie Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay, shouting: “It’s a f*****g disgrace, he can’t get away with it.”

Shane Lowry held his team-mate back then bundled him into the car to go back to the hotel and they enjoyed the last laugh by helping Luke Donald’s men to an emphatic 16 1⁄2 – 11 1⁄2 victory. 

Joe LaCava angered Rory McIlroy with his awful antics during the 2023 Ryder Cup

Livid McIlroy kicked off in the car park afterwards

Rory McIlroy vs Patrick Reed 

Earlier in the year, social media went into meltdown after Patrick Reed flicked a LIV-branded tee at McIlroy when the Northern Irishman blanked him on the driving range at the Dubai Desert Classic. 

McIlroy revealed: “I was subpoenaed by his lawyer on Christmas Eve. So of course, trying to have a nice time with my family and someone shows up on your doorstep and delivers that, you’re not going to take that well.

“I’m living in reality, I don’t know where he’s living. If I were in his shoes, I wouldn’t expect a hello or a handshake.”

Reed hit back: “It is one of those things — if you’re going to act like an immature little child then you might as well be treated like one.”

Patrick Reed pathetically flicked a LIV tee at McIlroy

The Northern Irishman made a deliberate ploy to ignore the American

Patrick Reed vs Jordan Spieth

Pantomime villain Reed – who was caught on camera calling himself a “f****** f****t” for a three-putt – fell out with Jordan Spieth at the 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris.

The pair formed a successful partnership in previous Ryder Cups but Reed felt aggrieved when Spieth reportedly asked to play with pal Justin Thomas instead.

Reed shrugged: “The issue’s obviously with Jordan not wanting to play with me.

“I don’t have any issue with Jordan. When it comes right down to it, I don’t care if I like the person I’m paired with or if the person likes me as long as it works and it sets up the team for success.”

The two hugged it out when they were paired together at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Jordan Spieth got fed up of playing with the unpopular Yank at the Ryder Cup

Dustin Johnson vs Brooks Koepka

It wasn’t the only bust-up at the 2018 Ryder Cup.

Rumours swirled that ‘Bash Brothers’ Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka almost came to blows when they dropped by the victorious European team room for a beer.

It was also claimed they fell out on the plane to Paris with Johnson’s now-wife Paulina Gretzky in the middle of the arguments.

Koepka and Dustin Johnson clashed at the 2018 Ryder Cup

It is understood Paulina Gretzky was at the thick of the drama on the plane

Brooks Koepka vs Bryson DeChambeau

It started off rather harmlessly between two alpha males with complaints of different playing styles and speeds.

Then it escalated on Twitter with some insults flung around before some dramatic eye-rolling on TV after DeChambeau interrupted Koepka’s interview.

Koepka then took the rivalry to an unprecedented new level when he actively encouraged fans to heckle DeChambeau by calling him “Brooksy” and offered to buy them beers if they did so – and duly obliged.

There was later a forced hug of reconciliation at the Ryder Cup and a grudge match between the pair.

Now they seem to have buried the hatchet for the sake of earning millions on the LIV Golf tour as Koepka said: “Believe it or not, we squashed it. We’re good.”

Koepka rolled his eyes when DeChambeau disrupted his TV interview

Tiger Woods vs Sergio Garcia

‘Strained’ is perhaps the best way to describe the relationship between Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia, dating back to that classic PGA Championship battle at Medinah in 1999.

There have been various clashes, most notably when Woods won the Players Championship at Sawgrass in 2013 and Garcia – playing on the adjacent fairway – blamed his collapse on Woods pulling out a 5-wood, prompting the crowd to go bananas and put him off his shot.

Garcia whinged: “I am not going to lie, he is not my favourite golfer to play with. Tiger is not the nicest guy on tour.”

Then in the US Open, Garcia sparked a race row when he said Woods “can come every night – we will serve fried chicken” then apologised.

Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia’s rivalry has simmered for decades

Tiger Woods vs Fuzzy Zoeller

It wasn’t the first time that Woods had been the subject of some crude racial stereotyping.

Fuzzy Zoeller, Masters champ in 1979, told Tiger “not to serve fried chicken or collard greens or whatever the hell they serve” as he sealed his maiden Augusta win aged 21.

Once again, Woods accepted the inevitable apology.

Fuzzy Zoeller made a racist remark about Tiger Woods when he won his first Masters in 1997 aged 21

Sergio Garcia vs Nick Faldo

The Spaniard got the last laugh in this simmering spat.

Captain Faldo had slammed Garcia as “useless” in Europe’s dismal 2008 Ryder Cup defeat and later made reference to his break-up with Greg Norman’s daughter.

But when Garcia became Europe’s all-time top points scorer in the competition at Le Golf National in 2018, he quipped: “This means a lot to me. I have passed some of my heroes today… and Nick Faldo.”

Garcia got the last laugh over Nick Faldo with his Ryder Cup exploits

Steve Williams vs Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods

Kiwi caddie Williams doesn’t rate three-time Masters winner Phil Mickelson.

He once said: “I wouldn’t call Mickelson a great player, because I hate the p***k.”

Williams added: “I don’t particularly like the guy. He pays me no respect at all and hence I don’t pay him any respect. It’s no secret we don’t get along either.”

Williams also piled in on old boss Tiger Woods, saying he wanted to take Adam Scott’s win at the 2011 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and “shove it right up that black a***hole”.

They’ve since made up.

Steve Williams has clashed with both Woods and Phil Mickelson

Colin Montgomerie vs Team USA

Majorless Monty stuck it to Ryder Cup rival Brad Faxon ahead of the 1997 tournament as he questioned the impact of a tough divorce on the American.

Faxon brushed off the comments while team-mate Bob Estes said: “I always knew Montgomerie was a cry-baby. I respect his skills but when he starts with low blows, that’s poor.”

Fred Funk went even further and raged: “He’s the jerk of the world as far as I’m concerned, and you can write that down because when I see him I’ll tell him to his face.”

Colin Montgomerie angered Team USA with his comments about Brad Faxon’s divorce

Vijay Singh vs Phil Mickelson

Mickelson returns after a spikey row with Vijay Singh at Augusta in 2005, with Lefty accused of leaving long spike marks on the greens.

The pair thrashed out their differences as Mickelson said: “After sitting in the locker room for a while, I heard Vijay talking to other players about it and I confronted him. He expressed his concerns. I expressed my disappointment with the way it was handled. I believe everything is fine now.”

But the New York Post had a slightly different version of events which included an “animated shouting match that nearly evolved into blows”.

Mickelson played down a blazing row with Vijay Singh at the Masters

Paul Azinger vs Seve Ballesteros

The pair’s relationship started and ended well – but in between was a bitter feud that exploded in back-to-back Ryder Cups in 1989 and 1991.

Azinger refused to let Ballesteros swap out a scuffed ball early in their singles match, prompting the Spaniard to ask: “Is this the way you want to play today?”

Defeated Ballesteros disputed a drop on 18 but he and compatriot Jose Maria Olazabal teamed up to great success two years later with another row over balls.

Seve branded Azinger a liar, Azinger called Seve “the king of gamesmanship” and even accused him of coughing during his shots as the Spaniards picked up three points from four as a pair. 

Paul Azinger and Seve Ballesteros got into spats at two Ryder Cups