McIlroy’s victory over the 2020 Tokyo Olympic gold medalist was his only point of the three days and ended a run of five straight defeats at the Ryder Cup.
After leading out Europe on a crucial final day and claiming what might’ve been a vital point as they sought to mount a comeback, the Northern Irishman was in tears when he saw the dire situation his team was in.
“I am glad I got a point on the board for Europe, but I just can’t wait to get another shot at this. I have never really cried or got emotional over what I’ve done as an individual. I’ve said naive and stupid things in the past, but this is by far the biggest tournament that we have in golf.”
The US regained the Ryder Cup on Sunday, winning 19-9 which broke the record for the biggest winning margin in the tournament’s 94-year history.
McIlroy, a four-time major winner, looked horribly out of form on the first two days, losing heavily in his three matches at Whistling Straits.
He was left out of Saturday’s morning foursomes, the first session he’d missed in his Ryder Cup career.
However, after being chosen to lead out Europe on the pivotal final day, McIlroy looked back to his best, impressively beating one of the best players in golf at the moment.
Yet when he was asked immediately afterwards what the singles victory meant to him — and after a quick look at a nearby leaderboard which informed him of Europe’s perilous position — McIlroy broke into tears as he explained what the tournament meant to him.
“You look at the crowds. You look at what it means, it’s the best,” he said. “I can’t wait to be a part of many, many more Ryder Cups and be teammates with some of these great guys and try to win many more.
“It is by far the best experience in golf, and I hope the boys and girls watching this today will aspire to play in this event, or the Solheim Cup, because there’s nothing better than being a part of a team, especially with the bond that we have in Europe.
“No matter what happens after this, I’m proud of every one of our players this week. I’m proud of our captain, our vice-captains, and I just wish I could have done a little more for the team. It’s been a tough week.”