Ryder Cup: Captain Padraig Harrington did ‘a great job’ says Ian Poulter

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Ryder Cup veteran Ian Poulter sprang to the defence of Europe captain Padraig Harrington in the wake of a record 19-9 defeat which saw the United States take back the trophy on home soil.

Trailing 11-5 heading into the final day’s singles, Europe registered just three individual wins - with experienced trio Poulter, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood all scoring their first points of the week.

The margin of the result inevitably led to questions being asked of Harrington but there were a number of factors which contributed to the loss, not least the fact the USA’s team contained nine of the world’s top 11 players.

Europe’s players, particularly their senior ones, were far from their best but Poulter said that was not the captain’s fault.

“The toughest bit about all of this is this is going to be hard because Paddy will be questioned and that is not fair,” Poulter told Sky Sports.

“He has done a great job but we have been outplayed. Paddy (Harrington) 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 was tearful after his three and two win over Tony Finau, with the realisation dawning on the 45-year-old it could be his final appearance.

The Englishman was playing his seventh Ryder Cup courtesy of a captain’s pick and extended his unbeaten singles record to six wins and a half.

“You put a point on the board and that’s all very nice but it doesn’t mean anything,” he added.

“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.

“We have a good young team. We have a team of good young players who will take this forward for many years.”

Poulter was one of the key figures in the Miracle at Medinah in 2012 when Europe recovered from 10-6 down to win on the final day.

So he knew better than most the task which faced them at Whistling Straits was pushing the realms of probability against arguably the strongest team the United States had fielded.

“Congrats to Team USA. When you look at the points, they have outplayed us this week,” he added.

“They owned each of those sessions on Friday and Saturday and that’s not always been the case.

“When we are left with a mountain to climb it is going to be tough and you always want to feel you have a chance and we wanted to come out unbelievably strong but they made it tough.

“They played better than us this week. All credit to the US team. It was never supposed to be easy.”

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