Ryder Cup: United States are ‘formidable’ – Europe’s Rory McIlroy

The United States are “going to be formidable opposition” for the next 20 years according to Rory McIlroy after Europe suffered a record defeat at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

The US won 19-9 by Lake Michigan with a team containing six rookies and eight players aged under 30.

The average world ranking of the home side was 8.9 compared to Europe’s 30.8.

“There’s phenomenal talent on that team. It has been a tough week for us,” said the Northern Irishman.

Europe arrived in the US having won seven of the previous nine Ryder Cups, but were outclassed by a home team which US captain Steve Stricker described as the “greatest ever”.

Only one of the past seven events had been won by a visiting team, when Europe produced the ‘Miracle of Medinah’ to fight back from a 10-6 deficit on the final day in 2012.

While 37-year-old Dustin Johnson led the US haul with five points, Patrick Cantlay, Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele – all making their debuts and still under 30 – followed him in terms of the leading individual points scorers at Whistling Straits.

In 2023, the US will defend the trophy at the Marco Simone course in the Italian capital Rome.

McIlroy, 32, added: “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.

“I think that was probably missing in previous generations.

“Guys like Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, the sort of heartbeat of that US team, they really bought into the team aspect.

“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.”

‘Harrington will be questioned and that’s not fair’

Europe captain Padraig Harrington should not take the blame for the visitors’ record defeat, said veteran Ian Poulter.

“The toughest bit about all of this is this is going to be hard because Paddy will be questioned and that is not fair,” England’s Poulter told Sky Sports.

“He has done a great job but we have been outplayed. To what he has given to his captaincy, he has done a really nice job.

“That room and group of players we had this week are special guys. It is not fair when you look at the score.”

Harrington had plenty of Ryder Cup experience as a player, winning four times in his six appearances, and helping Europe triumph as a vice-captain.

But he was unable to enjoy the same success as a captain, partly down to having lower-ranked players at his disposal than Stricker.

On going into the history books on the end of an unwanted record, the Irishman said: “Somebody has to. That’s the way it goes. This was a very strong US team.

“Everybody here gave 100%, and pulled together, everybody worked together this week.

“Nobody didn’t give their heart and soul to this team. Nobody should walk away, we don’t owe anybody anything in that sense.

“There will be more Ryder Cups. Most of the players have the best part of their career ahead of them.”

After his side avoided joining previous generations of talented American teams in underachieving at the Ryder Cup, an emotional Stricker said: “This is a new era. They are young, motivated, they came here determined to win.

“They are just so good. It was a special week all the way.

“I never won a major. But this is my major right here.”

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