Justin Thomas poured fuel on the fire early on in Sunday’s Ryder Cup singles matches, by doffing an imaginary cap to European fans as tensions flared in Rome.
Thomas, a contentious captain’s pick, rolled in a brilliant birdie putt to tie the fourth hole in his match against Sepp Straka.
The American then tipped his ‘hat’ to European fans, who booed him as he left the green. Thomas responded by cupping his ear.
He was among the USA players who had chosen to go without a cap on Sunday.
It comes after Rory McIlroy refused to acknowledge the ‘cheating caddie’ who sparked a major row at the Ryder Cup on Saturday after standing in his eyeline waving his cap ahead of a crucial putt as he headed out onto the green today.
Justin Thomas doffed an imaginary cap to European fans as tensions flared in Rome
The final day of the tournament sees the US team embroiled in a scandal amid cheating allegations after the row – which continued into the club’s car park late last night – and an incident in which a player appeared to ‘kick’ his ball.
The incident involved Patrick Cantlay’s caddie LaCava – who has 36 years of caddying experience – and an exuberant celebration which saw him refuse to move out the way for some time, before launching into an angry tirade at the opposition player.
US players turned European fans’ taunting over Cantlay not wearing a hat into their own celebration.
Reports suggest the world No 5 has not been wearing a cap at the tournament in protest at players not being paid to play in it.
In searing sunshine at Rome’s Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, Cantlay and three other USA stars have decided against donning caps.
Thomas opted not to wear one before appearing to play on the drama surrounding McIlroy and Cantlay’s caddie by tipping an imaginary hat.
Xander Schauffele – who Sky Sports claim is sitting with Cantlay in a separate area of the American locker room amid a split in the camp – and Colin Marakawa were also not wearing caps on Sunday.
The United States have refused to comment on whether Cantlay’s move is a protest towards players not being paid at the Ryder Cup or not.