Europe’s star man Rory McIlroy admits his first Ryder Cup loss hurts but accepts it may have been what the event needed to keep it interesting.
The Northern Irishman not only suffered overall defeat after three successive wins but was also beaten in singles for the first time, taken down by Patrick Reed in a thrilling contest at the top of the order which went all the way to the 18th green.
McIlroy admits he ran out of gas towards the end after his efforts to drag Europe back into it after their 4-0 opening day foursomes whitewash.
“Yeah, it does hurt. It’s disappointing for us as a team and for me personally, taking on the role to go out and put a blue point on the board, I didn’t do my job,” he said.
“We would definitely like to be feeling what the Americans are feeling right now.
“But saying that, they haven’t felt this for a while. It’s been eight years since they felt this feeling.
“They deserve it. They deserve their moment. We’ll come back better and stronger in Paris.”
He added: “It’s disappointing, obviously, but I think it’s good for golf. I think it keeps the Ryder Cup interesting going into France in a couple of years’ time.
“Not that we need any more incentive but we’re going to want to get it back on our home turf next time.”
World number three McIlroy, the highest-ranked player in the European side and winner of four majors, was a target for the rowdy American galleries from the off.
On Saturday he had a few run-ins with rowdy fans, having one supporter ejected for shouting abuse at him, but after pleas from organisers for behaviour to be tempered there was less of a problem on the final day.
That did not mean there was not any needle with the thousands of spectators following the stellar match at the top of the order as he and Reed traded blows over a particularly thrilling front nine.
When McIlroy holed a lengthy birdie putt on the eighth - his fifth of the day - he screamed “f***ing come on” before, cupping his hands to his ears, shouted “I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you”.
His celebrations were cut short by Reed, who also birdied for a half and cheekily wagged a finger at his opponent before sharing a joke about it with McIlroy as they walked to the next tee.
The contest was a thrilling one but when Reed went ahead at the 12th he was able to hang on to his advantage until the end as his opponent found he could not muster up one last charge.
It set the tone for Europe’s 17-11 defeat, their heaviest for 35 years.
“I’ve always got on pretty well with Patrick and I know what he gets up to and he’s seen what I’ve done this week and it’s all fun and games,” added McIlroy.
“It’s nothing personal out there. It’s just a matter of trying to get one-up on each other.
“I was doing my best the first few holes and as I said, just ran out of steam at the end.”
McIlroy was more animated on the course than at any time in his career, explaining he felt he had to energise the team as they went into the day 9 1/2 to 6 1/2 down.
“Poults (Ian Poulter, Europe’s traditional cheerleader) wasn’t playing this time so we needed someone on the course to be doing what he does,” he added.
“I took it upon myself to take on that role. I tried my best at it. I learned from the best.
“I’ve played with Poults a few times before and it’s always fun and hopefully he’s back on the team in a couple of years in Paris and we can do this all over again.”