SHEBOYGAN, Wisconsin, USA (AP) – Rory McIlroy had a flushed face and watery eyes. It was hard not to see it coming.
His toughest week in the Ryder Cup – one of his toughest weeks in golf – came to a merciful end on Sunday. He finally won a duel. To consider it a bittersweet ending would perhaps be too kind.
“It has been extremely disappointing that I have not been able to contribute more to this team,” said McIlroy.
His 3-2 win over Xander Schauffele represented his first points of a week that was all but lost before all 12 singles began. Europe fell 19-9 – the most lopsided defeat with the new format that began in 1979.
In the analysis of the defeat that will surely come in the European team that had won nine of their last 12 meetings, certainly the disappearance of McIlroy, the key golfer of the recent successes of the team, will be one of the main topics to be discussed.
But Europe’s problems are deeper and the duel against the Americans is not looking good in the future.
Europe arrived with four players over 40 years old – Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Paul Casey and Sergio Garcia – to a duel against the United States with only one element of that age.
Other jarring numbers: Eight of America’s 12 players are in their twenties; 11 of them are among the top 20 in the world.
“There is phenomenal talent on that team,” acknowledged McIlroy.
The song “We Are the Champions” played on the sound system and McIlroy and company could only watch.
“It has been a difficult week,” he acknowledged. “But the more I play this tournament, the more I realize that it is the best event in golf. I love being a part of this and can’t wait to be a part of many more. “