United States Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk admits he should have done some things differently as the inquest into their defeat at Le Golf National began.
The American team was arguably the strongest to compete in the event with six of the world’s top-10 players and a combined 31 majors between them.
However, they were comprehensively outplayed by Europe from Friday’s afternoon foursomes onwards and some of Furyk’s decisions in relation to his selection of pairings came into question.
He split up the US’s most successful partnership at Gleneagles and Hazeltine in Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed and, while Spieth won three out of four with Justin Thomas, Reed was dreadful paired with Tiger Woods.
Furyk also played a clearly out-of-form Phil Mickelson in the Friday foursomes, an error he did not repeat as the left-hander was benched for Saturday.
“I know everyone wishes they had played better and I wish I probably would have done some things differently as well,” said the US captain.
“But at the end of the day we did the best we could and we all worked hard.
“It was totally my decision and my call (on the pairings) and I think I had a few of you tell me that it was a gutsy play, but the one I thought was the right thing to do. It was my call.
“We’re going to get second-guessed and we’re going to get questioned. I realise as a leader of this team and as a captain the brunt of it is going to be on my plate and I accepted that when I took this role.
“But hats off what they (Europe) accomplished this week. Thomas (Bjorn) was a better captain, and their team outplayed us and there’s nothing else more you can say. They deserved to win. They played well.”
Despite the crushing 17.5 to 10.5 defeat meaning they have now lost nine of the last 12 Ryder Cups, Furyk believes America are still well-placed to compete in the event.
“I’ll work with the PGA of America and I’ll work with our Ryder Cup committee and I think we’ll keep improving. We’ll keep growing,” he added.
“We didn’t have the success we wanted, but I felt like we made some strides in areas this year and I’ll help our captain in 2020 and I’ll help him get better as well.
“Obviously there’s a sour taste in our mouth to come over here now for 27 years and not be able to win on foreign soil. That’s the goal. We want to be successful in this event. We want to grow and we want to get better, but we want to do it here in Europe. That will be the goal four years from now.”
Every one of the team apart from Thomas, who was America’s top points scorer with four, opted not to play in this year’s French Open on the same course with a similar set-up to this week.
Furyk stood by the decision – criticised by ex-European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley – of his players to stay away despite their counterparts’ superior knowledge of Le Golf National making a significant difference.
“We came over here and played our practice rounds and prepped for this golf course,” said Furyk. “I’m going to say it over and over and over again: I have every confidence in these 12 players that you could. I think we have a great team.
“I would take them right back into another Ryder Cup and play it all over again if I could.
“You can call me crazy, but I have every belief that these guys could get it done. I still do and I still would again.”
Europe’s triumphant Ryder Cup players enjoyed some fun at the expense of golf.com writer Alan Shipnuck, who wrote a column last year in which he predicted the United States would “roll to victory in Paris” and set the stage for more than a decade of “blowouts” in the biennial contest.
“We’ve known each other for a long, long time and we get along well,” Rory McIlroy said in answer to a question about European team solidarity.
“I think collectively, we all have one question: Where is Alan Shipnuck?”
This drew cheers from McIlroy’s team-mates and Garcia added: “I don’t know how good a predictor you are.”