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Rory McIlroy was reduced to tears in heartbreaking scenes as Team Europe suffered a record thrashing in the Ryder Cup on Sunday.
Trailing 11-5 heading into the 12 singles matches on Sunday, Padraig Harrington's European team needed a comeback greater than 2012's 'Miracle at Medinah' to retain the trophy, with the hosts requiring just three and a half points for victory.
'CLASSLESS': Bryson DeChambeau savaged over Ryder Cup act
McIlroy belatedly found some form to beat Xander Schauffele 3-and-2 in the opening match, but the previously unbeaten Jon Rahm lost to Scottie Scheffler and Patrick Cantlay defeated Shane Lowry to take the home side to the brink of victory.
Bryson DeChambeau, who eagled the first hole after driving the green, ended Sergio Garcia's unbeaten record with a 3-and-2 victory to make it 14-6 and it fell to Collin Morikawa to effectively secure victory with eight matches still on the course.
The Open champion's birdie on the 17th guaranteed him half a point against Viktor Hovland and the home celebrations could begin.
McIlroy had been benched for the first time in his Ryder Cup career after two defeats on the opening day and lost again on Saturday afternoon, but birdied the first hole against Olympic champion Schauffele and was never headed.
Asked to describe the challenge of playing in front of the partisan crowd, McIlroy struggled to compose himself before saying: "I love being a part of this team.
"I love my teammates so much. I should have done more for them this week.
"I'm glad I put a point on the board for them but I just can't wait to get another shot at this."
The Irishman, who famously described the Ryder Cup as an "exhibition" before making his debut at Celtic Manor in 2010, added: "I've never cried about what I've done as an individual, I couldn't give a s***.
"It's been a tough week but the more and more I play in this event I realise it's the best event in golf bar none.
"No matter what happens after this I am proud of every single one of the players that played this week, I am proud of our captain and vice-captains."
Viewers were left gutted over McIlroy's sad TV breakdown.
Rory Mcilroy has taken a lot of stick this week, but my God there's not a single person that just watched that interview that didn't feel the same pain as him.
Bring on Rome!#RyderCup
— George Speakman (@_GSpeakman) September 26, 2021
Rory mcilroy being emotional it’s so heartbreaking
You did your best head up Rory
— 𝐅𝐮𝐥𝐡𝐚𝐦 𝐓𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐈 𝐃𝐢𝐞 (@FFC_Alex) September 26, 2021
Heartbreaking to see the Mighty #McIlroy - who was ver-ry good today - so emotional & exhausted by the feeling that he had ‘underachieved’ & let his team-mates down. No, #Rory. You remain a bloody hero - partly because we know you care.#RyderCup2020 #winner
— Rick Walton (@cricketmanwales) September 26, 2021
Sad for the good lads like Mcilroy, Fleetwood, Lowry etc but quite happy that Paul Casey will be miserable the little fucking posh gimp
— Gamble (@Gamble1878) September 26, 2021
Good man Rory
— paddylane (@kerypat) September 26, 2021
Amazing. Got me to tear up.
— TallFella73 (@Fella73Tall) September 26, 2021
So raw and very well defines the emotion of the Ryder Cup for the European team. Looks like the USA now has that feeling. Players not prima donna’s.
— Mike Oakley (@mrmikeoakley) September 26, 2021
Completely unexpected display of emotion. Fantastic.
— Carl Cucuzza (@KudzuCarl) September 26, 2021
United States reclaim Ryder Cup in record thrashing
The United States won back the Ryder Cup and perhaps a whole lot more with a record 19-9 scoreline, sending a strong message to Europe with a powerful performance from their youngest team in history.
They never lost a session as they secured the biggest blowout since the competition was changed to its current format in 1979.
"This is a new era," US captain Steve Stricker said.
"These guys are young. They want it. They're motivated. They came here determined to win. I could see it in their eyes."
Morikawa said: "To clinch this and bring it back on home soil feels so good.
"The guys pulled through; we didn't let up."
The celebration was on as the gallery saved one of its loudest cheers for Stricker, the Wisconsin native who has been at the helm of blowouts in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup.
"This is a special day. This Ryder Cup means a lot to everyone, on your side and our side and to finally put in a dominant performance - these guys played great - they deserve it," Stricker told Sky Sports.
"I sure feel like it is (a new era). They come in with a lot of fire, they are friends and get along very well and are willing to do anything to get what they need to do done."
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