Where on earth do Europe go from here?
They were always going to be up against it in the 43rd but a 10-point humiliation?
Let’s go through the painful questions in the aftermath of the biggest loss in Ryder Cup history and see if we can offer up a prayer for a revival come the next match in Rome in 2023.
Sportsmail goes through the painful questions in the aftermath of the biggest loss in Ryder Cup history
1.PADRAIG HARRINGTON — CAPTAIN CALAMITY?
It is in the nature of these matches that one skipper proves to be Captain Fantastic and the loser a good deal less than that but, in this instance, it’s difficult to find much wrong with the Irishman’s stewardship.
When you are at the helm of a ship that’s looking dated and the other captain has a sleek ocean liner, you are always going to be left in his wake.
Yes, it was a mystery why Tommy Fleetwood, who has never lost a foursomes match, didn’t get the chance to put that record to the test.And selecting Justin Rose for a wildcard might have plugged one or two gaps.
The truth of the matter though, in meeting perhaps the strongest American team of all time with his second-best player completely out of sorts, is that the Dubliner proved an unlucky captain rather than a bad one.
Team Europe captain Padraig Harrington was an unlucky captain rather than a bad one
2.ANY WAY BACK FOR RORY McILROY?
It is now officially time to worry about the talismanic Northern Irishman. All the tentative signs of recovery over the summer were blown away by a complete inability to perform over the first two days.
McIlroy deserves kudos for fronting up to lead the team off in the singles and deliver a point, but this was a bit like those recoveries he makes over the last couple of rounds in majors, when the damage has already been done.
The enormous sense of deflation he was feeling was obvious when the tears came.He cares all right. All Europe will be keeping fingers and everything else crossed that he can find a solution, for there are no Ryder Cup victories in the near future without a fit and firing Rory.
It is now officially time to worry about the talismanic Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy
3.DON’T THE HOME SIDE ALWAYS WIN?
Six of the last eight Ryder Cups have produced fairly lop-sided home victories, if not usually on the scale of this one.
And you can be sure Europe will set up the course in Italy to spike the American artillery.The fairways will be narrow, the rough thick and the greens as slow as molasses to counter all those US players who hole from everywhere on slick putting surfaces.
The crowd factor is probably worth another couple of points, so we might theoretically have halved the deficit by this stage.
Trouble is, it will be 30 years, would you believe, since the last American away victory by the time we get to Rome.Do you think these young and hungry world beaters might be keen to be the team who ends that drought?
4. DO EUROPE NEED TO CHANGE THE QUALIFYING SYSTEM?
Do you really have to get me started on this?
No hindsight here, folks — we trashed it before the match as being unfit for purpose. Let’s just underline the lunacy. For all the faults of the FedEx Cup, the trio of events in the US leading up to the Ryder Cup proved fertile breeding grounds for identifying the Americans in form.
Tony Finau won one. Patrick Cantlay won two. Harris English played well. Xander Schauffele played well. Dustin Johnson played well in the last one. See a pattern here?
Meanwhile, in Europe, Bernd Wiesberger finished 20th in the last counting event at Wentworth and went above Shane Lowry in the list, who finished 17th.No, don’t adjust your reading specs, you haven’t read that wrong.
No one had a clue what was happening and no one, as a result, played well. Just what you need for confidence before taking on the rampant Americans.
Depressingly, all the signs are that the incomprehensible system will only be tweaked for the next match, when it needs throwing out and recognising that the golfing world has changed.
Eight players off the world rankings and four picks sounds about right to me.