The United States have regained the Ryder Cup with a record 19-9 victory over Europe at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.
Open champion Collin Morikawa claimed the winning half point in the fifth of Sunday’s 12 singles matches as the home side raced to the 14½ points they needed.
Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter – Europe’s only winners in the singles – were in tears as they showed the emotion of what will be a chastening defeat.
Around them, American players celebrated, with Brooks Koepka downing a beer thrown to him from the fans after he completed a 2&1 victory on the 17th green to booming chants of “U-S-A” from a 40,000-strong home crowd.
There had already been big wins for Patrick Cantlay, Scottie Scheffler and Bryson DeChambeau amid a carnival atmosphere by Lake Michigan, while Dustin Johnson became the first American to win all five matches at a Ryder Cup since 1979.
Such was the headiness of the celebrations that Koepka and DeChambeau, who have been involved in a long-running feud, briefly embraced in the post-match media conference, with US captain Steve Stricker saying they had “wanted to play together”.
“This is a special day for everyone here involved,” added Stricker, who struggled to keep his emotions in check as a Wisconsinite.
“The Ryder Cup means a lot to everybody, your side and our side. We finally put in a dominant performance.
“This is a new era right here, they are young, motivated, they came here determined to win.
“I never won a major. But this is my major.”
Europe captain Harrington conceded: “It’s a tough loss, but they were better than us. They were a strong team and played on their best form. They had momentum the whole time.”
The margin of victory eclipses the 18½-9½ successes enjoyed by Europe in 2004 and 2006 and America’s own triumph in 1981.
This was a thoroughly deserved win, built on a dominant opening two days for the hosts.
They led 6-2 after Friday’s foursomes and fourballs sessions, and extended that to a record 11-5 on Saturday to leave themselves needing to win just 3½ points out of the 12 available in the singles.
Harrington spoke on Saturday evening of using the spirit of 2012, when the visitors came from 10-6 down to win the ‘Miracle of Medinah’ – the only away victory in the past eight editions – to inspire his side.
He put McIlroy, who had lost all three of his matches, out first and the Northern Irishman immediately put European blue on the scoreboard by winning the first hole against Olympic champion Schauffele.
And when Harrington’s fellow Irishman Shane Lowry went ahead on the second in the second match, the few European fans who had managed to make it to Whistling Straits this week started to believe.
However, Cantlay, who won the PGA Tour’s season-long FedEx Cup and its $15m prize earlier this month, won the next four holes to take control of that match.
Behind him, Scheffler birdied the first four holes as he put world number one Jon Rahm under early pressure.
And then the big-hitting DeChambeau hit his tee shot on the par-four first onto the green and holed the 40-foot eagle putt to stun Sergio Garcia.
They were leads the Americans would keep throughout their matches against the Spaniards, who had combined for three points from three matches in Friday and Saturday’s fourballs and foursomes.
“Unfortunately they were a little better than we were,” said Garcia who extended his points record to 28½ at his 10th Ryder Cup.
“We’ve got to accept that and we’ve got to get ready for Rome and try to get it back.”
The victory was clinched with seven matches still out on the course, underlining the sheer superiority of the home side.
Justin Thomas crushed Tyrrell Hatton 4&3, Brooks Koepka saw off Bernd Wiesberger 2&1 and Daniel Berger beat Matt Fitzpatrick on the last as the US won seven of the singles matches.
This may now be the start of quite a dynasty for the US, who had lost seven of the previous nine editions of the biennial contest, but have now won successive Ryder Cups on home soil for the first time in 38 years.
The 12-strong team featured eight of the top 10 in the world rankings and eight of their team are in their 20s, with the oldest being 37-year-old world number two Johnson, who rounded off a terrific week with a one-hole victory over Paul Casey.
Three of six rookies in the team, Cantlay, Morikawa and Schauffele, remained unbeaten throughout the week as every US player contributed at least one point.
By contrast, several of the European players must be edging close to the end of their Ryder Cup careers, although 48-year-old Westwood, who qualified for the team, and 45-year-old Poulter, one of Harrington’s three wildcard selections, were victorious.
Both of their triumphs came long after the cup had been lost, but both won their opening holes when European blue was lacking on the scoreboards.
Westwood, who trailed by two holes with five to play, eventually beat Harris English on the 18th, while Poulter, a captain’s pick for the fifth time in seven appearances, never trailed against Tony Finau, winning 3&2.
“Sticking a point on the board is nice from a personal feeling, but it’s no consolation,” said Poulter on BBC Radio 5 Live after keeping up his fine record of having never lost a singles match, winning six and halving the other.
“We’ll saddle up and see if we can go again in Italy.
“You don’t think it’s a complete runaway like this. When you look at the scoreboard it looks extremely lopsided, but it didn’t feel that way.”
The next Ryder Cup is scheduled to be held in Rome in 2023, which will be 30 years since the US last won an away match.