Pádraig Harrington: ‘We did our job and it just wasn’t our week’

Irishman says: ‘It’s difficult being a captain. I think I did what I needed to do’

Europe captain Pádraig Harrington admitted his side had simply been outplayed as the United States regained the Ryder Cup with a record-breaking performance at Whistling Straits.

Trailing 11-5 heading into Sunday’s 12 singles matches, Harrington’s side needed a comeback greater than 2012’s ‘Miracle at Medinah’ to retain the trophy, with the home side requiring just three-and-a-half points.

But although Rory McIlroy belatedly found some form to beat Xander Schauffele in the opening match, the scoreboard was soon a sea of American red as Steve Stricker's side stormed to an utterly dominant 19-9 victory, the biggest winning margin in the modern era.

“It’s a tough loss for us but the US played well, they outplayed us,” Harrington said. “They were a strong team that got their plan right and got some momentum going.”

Harrington was quick to praise Stricker and his side, saying: "They obviously got it right this week, a very strong team, but I'm happy for Steve Stricker. He's one of the good guys in golf. If you're going to get beat by a captain, that's a good captain for sure.

“He obviously got his plan right. Whatever their prep was, they did a good job, and they came out and started well and kept the momentum going. It was just a tough one to overcome.

“I believe that we did our job and it just wasn’t our week. It’s difficult being a captain. I think I did what I needed to do.

“I’m quite a practical person, but I know I needed to be more than that when you’re the Ryder Cup captain. I do think I managed to bring these guys together, and, okay, we didn’t get the results we wanted, but I think we were a team, and that’s the most important thing at the end of the day.”

The writing had been on the wall over the first two days of US dominance and victories for Scottie Scheffler — over the previously unbeaten Jon Rahm — Patrick Cantlay and Bryson DeChambeau made it 14-6 before it fell to Collin Morikawa to effectively secure victory with eight matches still on the course.

The British Open champion's birdie on the 17th guaranteed him half a point against Viktor Hovland — subsequently confirmed on the last — and the home celebrations, which Justin Thomas had started by downing beer on the first tee on Saturday afternoon, could officially begin.

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