Rory McIlroy hails "absolutely phenomenal" Ryder Cup captain, Darren Clarke

Europe were beaten 17-11 last night in Hazeltine

BY Cian Roche 07:54 Monday 3 October 2016, 7:54 3 Oct 2016

Image: David J. Phillip / AP/Press Association Images

For the first time in his career, Rory McIlroy tasted defeat in the Ryder Cup as Team Europe were beaten 17-11 at Hazeltine last night.

The Fedex Cup winner lost a crucial singles against Patrick Reed last night, with the American producing one of the performances of the competition.

Speaking after the final round, McIlroy expressed his disappointment with the result, but admitted the US were the better side. 

"I wanted to try to temper what [Reed] was doing," McIlroy said. "He's played incredible all week, and we played a great front nine and I couldn't really keep the pace up for the rest of the round.

"[I] tried my best to get it done and put a point on the board for Europe early on. But Patrick played so well, and I'd say maybe against anyone else, I might have been a couple up going into the turn but I was all-square and had a battle on my hands. It was tough at the end, it really was. I ran out of steam. It's been a long week. I didn't make any birdies on the back nine, which you can't do against a guy of that quality.

"[Patrick] was awesome all day and deserved the win. Overall this week, obviously the United States deserves the victory so congratulations to them."

Asked about the result he added: "Disappointing obviously. But I think it's good for golf. I think it's good for golf; keeps The Ryder Cup interesting going into France in a couple of years' time. Just gives us that little -- not that we need any more incentive, but we're going to want to get it back on our home turf next time."

Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy watch on the 17th hole during a four-ball match at the Ryder Cup on Saturday, at Hazeltine National Golf Club. Image: AP Photo/David J. Phillip 

Team captain Darren Clarke reflected those feelings after yesterday's singles and McIlroy hailed his performance in the role.

"Absolutely phenomenal. I cannot praise him enough for the job he's done this week. It's been absolutely incredible. He's been first class all the way through, involved everyone. You know, and the little details he got so right. I know he's put his heart and soul into this for 18 months. I wish we could have got the win for him but he's been a fantastic captain regardless. I feel very proud to have played under him."

McIlroy also bemoaned the "very small minority" of fans who had hurled abuse at the European team during the competition. One member of the crowd was reportedly ejected from the course for derogatory comments aimed at the four-time major winner and he says that some of the comments crossed the line.

"At times, but again, it's not -- the fans, that's a generalization. I think the fans as a whole have been very good and very fair but just the very small minority are the people that sort of ruined it for everyone else. But no, look, it's been played for the most part in a very respectable and fair but tough environment. I wouldn't expect anything less.

"When the Americans come over and play on our side, you know, they find it difficult, as well. That's what you expect at The Ryder Cup and that's what happened and as I said, hopefully we can give them a good fight in a couple years' time."

Danny Willett, who had been at the circle of controversy before the beginning of the tournament after his brother Pete wrote an article about the US fans, was far more succinct when it came to describing his experience of the Ryder Cup.

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