(Attention language in paragraph nine that some readers may find offensive)
KOHLER, Wisconsin : Rory McIlroy could not stop the tears after finally delivering a point for Europe in a futile quest to prevent the United States reclaiming the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits on Sunday.
The Northern Irishman, a four-time major champion and former world number one, was one of the big weapons in Europe captain Padraig Harrington's arsenal but failed to fire.
He suffered heavy defeats in Friday's foursomes and fourballs matches and went down again in Saturday's fourballs having been left out of a Ryder Cup session for the first time in his career for the morning foursomes.
McIlroy, who also lost three of his five matches in 2018 when Europe cruised to victory, found some form to beat Xander Schauffele 3&2 in Sunday's first singles but with the United States 11-5 ahead overnight and needing only 3.5 points to snatch back the trophy it was a hollow point.
"I've been extremely disappointed that I haven't contributed more for the team. I'm glad I got a point on the board today for them. It's been a tough week," a choked McIlroy told reporters.
"And the more and more I play in this event, I realise that it's the best event in golf, bar none. I love being a part of it. Can't wait to be a part of many more."
Playing in his sixth Ryder Cup, McIlroy knows the joy of winning with his team mates. But the pain of defeat was clear to see as McIlroy spoke of his love for the biennial competition.
"I don't think there's any greater privilege to be a part of one of these teams, European or American. It's an absolute privilege. I've gotten to do this six times," he said.
"I have never really cried or got emotional over what I've done as an individual. I couldn't give a shit. But this team, and what it feels like to be a part of, to see Sergio (Garcia) break records, to see Jon Rahm come into his own this week, to see one of my best friends, Shane Lowry, make his debut.
"It's phenomenal and I'm so happy to be a part of it. I'm disappointed that I didn't contribute more. Glad I got a point on the board for Europe, disappointed I didn't do it sooner."
With Europe suffering a resounding defeat against a high-quality U.S. team, McIlroy said he was already looking forward to trying to win back the trophy in Rome in 2023.
"The American team have been total class in terms of how they played. They have been dominant. They have been really, really good and we haven't been able to put up as much of a fight as we want," he said.
"But this will just fill the fire even more for us in two years' time in Rome."
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)