EUROPE were handed a record-breaking 19-9 Ryder Cup hammering as Steve Stricker’s superstars team ran riot at Whistling Straits.
Captain Padraig Harrington and his players must have felt like crying every time they looked at the scoreboards on a dismal Sunday in Wisconsin.
The water level in Lake Michigan might have risen by a few inches from the outpouring of emotions, with the Americans also weeping tears of joy after a record triumph.
And it gets even more upsetting when you realise this was the youngest ever American team, with an average age of just 29.
AND an average world ranking of NINE!
AND it was a team containing six rookies, who are only going to become even tougher to beat in future matches.
That adds up to compelling evidence that we are on the verge of an era of American Ryder Cup dominance, to rival Europe’s glorious sequence of seven wins from the nine precious matches.
Of course, some things will be different when the American gladiators fly over to Rome to do battle at the Coliseum – sorry the Marco Simone course – in two years time.
The fairways will be a lot narrower, the rough will be deeper, and the greens will not be as kind to the USA birdie machines as they were this week.
But the Yanks will surely never again be guilty of the sort of complacency that cost them dear in Paris 2018. They will be far better prepared for European conditions.
On their own turf, the Yanks were simply irresistible. They trounced Europe in four of the five sessions, and were kicking themselves by not making it a clean sweep after sharing the second set of fourballs 2-2.
Rory McIlroy did his best to stop the rot as he finally found form in the first match out, seeing off Xander Schauffele 3&2.
SEA OF RED
But after failing to win any of his previous games he knew it was too little too late and broke down in tears while apologising to his team-mates in an emotional interview.
McIlroy’s victory was the lone bright spot as Patrick Cantlay, Scottie Scheffler and Bryson DeChambeau – who beat European legend Sergio Garcia – put the Americans 14-6 up and with loads of red on the leaderboard behind them.
It fell to Open champ Collin Morikawa to sink the winning putt, and though he missed to bogey the last it meant his half point secured the 14.5 America needed to win.
America went into the singles leading 11-5 after dominating the first four sessions.
And there was no real let up after that, with the Europeans humbled by a US team featuring eight of the world’s top ten.
Brooke Koepka beat Bernd Wiesberger to make 15.5 – 6.5 and with five out of six matches still the on course going America’s way, a record margin of defeat for Europe was firmly on the cards.
Dustin Johnson added another point on the board to become just the third man ever to win every match with a perfect 5-0 record.
There were tears for Ian Poulter though, even though he won.
The Ryder Cup legend more than likely played his final ever game in an event he has personified.
He saw off Tony Finau 3&2 but knew his efforts were in vain as the US marched towards a record win.
With matches still on the course, Harrington, of Ireland, said: “It’s a tough loss for us but they just played better than us.
“My players did everything I could ask for them, it was just a tough week. I couldn’t have asked for more.
“It was always going to be a tall order against a strong US team, a lot of things went against us.
“The US had momentum all the time, they holed putts and kept going. Maybe the crowds were some part of that. When we holed a putt there was silence.
“It’s possible [having no European fans impacted us] but the US were better than us.
“It’s a small consolation but I’m very happy with all my decisions. It’s just the way it is.
“We had some great times in the team room all week. There were some highlights, just not enough of them. The US played great.”
The USA went into the singles needing just three and a half points to clinch victory.
They top-loaded their singles order to try to get the job done quickly – and like pretty much everything else they have tried, it worked perfectly.
Tour Championship winner Cantlay confirmed his status as the hottest player in the game by taking down Shane Lowry, and rookie Scottie Scheffler hoisted the home side to 13 points by beating a jaded-looking Jon Rahm.
DeChambeau had delivered the ultimate declaration of intent with a 354 yards drive which hurtled to the back of the first green – and followed up by nailing the 40 footer for eagle to send the American fans wild.
He kept up the assault on the course and took the USA to the brink of victory with a 3&2 triumph over Garcia.
With plenty more red numbers on the board to trumpet America’s overwhelming superiority, any one of about half a dozen of DeChambeau’s team-mates could have delivered the blow that took them past the 14 point mark.
The honour fell to Morikawa, who halved with Hovland.
Justin Thomas got a 4&3 win over England’s Tyrrell Hatton, Lee Westwood beat Harris English one up, Tommy Fleetwood and Jordan Spieth halved before Daniel Berger confirmed the record 19-9 margin of victory with a one up win over Sheffield’s Matt Fitzpatrick.
For the likes of Westwood, Poulter and Paul Casey – aged 48, 45, and 44 respectively – this was clearly a Ryder Cup too far, even though Poults and Westy won their singles.
Europe’s Dad’s Army needs to be replaced by hungry new recruits. And quickly.