Scottie Scheffler, the world’s number one golfer, has broken down crying after he and his partner, Brooks Koepka, suffered an historic heavy defeat in the Ryder Cup.
The Americans lost 9&7 to European pair, Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Aberg, the largest margin of victory in any 18-hole match in the event’s history.
In a tournament famous for close finishes, there were still seven holes left to play when the Europeans sealed victory.
Scheffler was pictured fighting back tears and being comforted by his wife Meredith as the enormity of the loss sank in, the previous biggest margin being 7&6.
The 27-year-old wanted to try to make amends in the afternoon fourballs, but was left out by US captain Zach Johnson, PA said.
Adding to the US players’ humiliation, neither of their opponents has won a major tournament, while Koepka has won five. Aberg, 23, only turned professional in June and is playing because he was given a wild card after winning the final qualifying event.
There is often tension during the biennial match between the US and Europe’s best golfers, as players, goaded by rowdy spectators, celebrate harder than they would at other tournaments.
After Friday’s play, Koepka accused Spaniard Jon Rahm of acting like “a child” during their tied match, which Rahm tied by holing a 33ft (10m) eagle putt on the last hole.
Koepka, also playing with Scheffler, said: “I want to hit a board and pout just like Jon Rahm did. But, you know, it is what it is. Act like a child. But we’re adults. We move on.”
Koepka has assumed a pantomime villain persona at this year’s Ryder Cup, having defected to the Saudi-run LIV Golf tour.
Rahm, who partnered Nicolai Hojgaard, admitted he “banged a board in anger” after the Americans went one up with one to play.
He said: “Going up to the tee, I let off some frustration hitting the board sideways, I kept walking, that was it.
“If Brooks thinks that’s childish, it is what it is. He’s entitled to think what he thinks. I’ve done much worse on a golf course like that.
“I needed to let off some steam and clearly it worked out. Is it right or wrong, childish or not, I don’t know, but that’s what I needed at the moment.”
Later on Saturday, there was apparent friction between Rory McIlroy and Wyndham Clark, who exchanged a few words, “possibly about ball position and playing by the rules”, the BBC said.