Padraig Harrington is not to blame for Europe’s record defeat in the Ryder Cup, Ian Poulter has insisted, as his side were “outplayed” by the United States at Whistling Straight.
The hosts continued their formidable play in Sunday’s singles to extend the scoreline to 19-9 and reclaim the Ryder Cup, the biggest ever margin of victory in the matchplay tournament.
While Poulter retained his unbeaten record in the singles after securing an impressive victory over Tony Finau, the Ryder Cup veteran said it was always going to be an uphill battle against one of the strongest sides the USA had ever assembled.
Like Rory McIlroy, Poulter was visibly emotional after his win in the singles was confirmed as he collapsed to his knees on the 16th green.
“The toughest bit about all of this is this is going to be hard because Paddy [Harrington] will be questioned and that is not fair,” 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 an amazing job.
“Paddy and [his wife] Caroline have given us a team atmosphere and incredible bonding team room. That room and group of players we had this week are special guys. It is not fair when you look at the score.”
Poulter had been unable to register a point alongside McIlroy in Friday’s foursomes and Saturday’s fourballs and the 45-year-old admitted he didn’t know whether this Ryder Cup would be his last.
“You put a point on the board and that’s all very nice but it doesn’t mean anything,” he said. “OK, I’m unbeaten in singles, it’s nice personally but this is a team week and it is deflating.
“As a senior player in the team you don’t really think there is many more left. I wanted to come here this week and give everything and in the first two days I didn’t manage to do anything.
“Today was to give something back but you just don’t know if you get the opportunity to go again.”
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