The USA could be on the brink of a sustained period of dominance in the Ryder Cup off the back of their record-breaking 19-9 victory at Whistling Straits.
So says Rory McIlroy.
The four-time major champion cut an emotional, despondent figure after being part of the European side that was humbled by Steve Stricker’s US team in Wisconsin.
A 3&2 victory over Xander Schauffele in the opening match of the singles salvaged at least a little personal pride for McIlroy, who lost his other three matches, but it mattered little in the grand scheme if things as the United States romped to an emphatic and deserved win.
What’s more, they did it with a young, relatively inexperienced side. With rookies comprising six of Stricker’s 12 men, the American team had an average age of 29. At 37, Dustin Johnson – who went 5-0-0 – was the oldest man on the team.
One suspects that the majority of the players who played this time will feature on many Ryder Cup teams to come, much to the concern of McIlroy.
“I think the most important thing for the US team is they are a lot of young guys that are great players but have bought into the Ryder Cup,” he said.
“I think that was probably missing in previous generations.
“Having guys like that on the team, they are going to be formidable opposition from now until I’m probably not playing Ryder Cups, whenever that is – in hopefully 20 years’ time.”
McIlroy struggled to contain his emotions in the aftermath of his win over Schauffele, the pain of a historic defeat writ large all over him during a greenside TV interview with Sky Sports’ Henni Koyack.
“It sucks losing,” he added. “It sucks not being able to be competitive and, yeah, I’m glad I put a point on the board for Europe and that was my goal and mission and I was able to accomplish that. But when I look back on this week, it will be a case of sort of lost opportunity.
“I love being a part of this team and I love my teammates so much. I should have done more for them this week. I just can’t wait to get another shot at this. It is by far the best experience in golf, and I hope little boys and girls watching this today aspire to be part of it.”