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Biggest golf moments of 2023: The Ryder Cup gets testy

Ah, 2023. The year everything changed … again. For the second straight year, we left 2023 with a drastically different perspective of professional golf than we entered. Now, as we look back at the year that was — with LIV major championships, Ryder Cup controversies and oh so many other stories — we’re remembering the 15 biggest moments that defined the year in golf. Let’s get digging.

Biggest Golf Moments of 2023 … No. 15: Viktor Hovland’s arrival | No. 14: Fowler, Day back in the winner’s circle | No. 13: Brian Harman’s Open rout | No. 12: The Michael Block Party | No. 11: Wyndham Clark’s breakout | No. 10: Lilia Vu’s rise | No. 9: LIV Golf’s OWGR snub | No. 8: The players regain control | No. 7: Ciganda’s Spanish Solheim triumph | No. 6: Tiger Woods’ 2023 return | No. 5: No. 5: Brooks Koepka’s PGA Championship triumph

Biggest Golf Moments of 2023 No. 4: The Ryder Cup gets testy

The Ryder Cup is one of the game’s most beloved events, where the world’s best players from the U.S. and Europe come together across an ocean to play in a biennial match. No money is at stake, just pride — and the glory of camaraderie, sportsmanship and competition.

So much for all that malarkey, right?

Just kidding, of course, but observers of this year’s Ryder Cup in Rome certainly witnessed some questionable behavior, seemingly not entirely in line with the exhibition’s glowing ideals.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Team USA, despite a decades-long losing streak in Europe, did not appear to be the underdogs on paper. This looked like the year the Americans could win abroad. But an absolute shellacking from Team Europe in the opening foursomes session (4-0!) set the tone for the whole event: Team USA had dug itself a big hole, and it would take a monumental effort to climb out.

In the wake of Europe’s 6.5-1.5 lead after Day 1, the week’s first controversy erupted. Brooks Koepka was understandably irked when he and Scottie Scheffler halved their afternoon four-ball match to Jon Rahm and Nicolai Hojgaard, thanks to some late-match heroics — and passionate celebrations — from Rahm that electrified the gallery.

Kopeka didn’t mince words in his post-match comments: “I mean, I think me and Scottie [Scheffler] birdied, what did we say, 14, we birdied 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and then lost by two. So yeah. I mean, I want to hit a board and pout just like Jon Rahm did. But, you know, it is what it is. Act like a child. But we’re adults. We move on.”

Act like a child. Ooooh, okay now! Let’s go!