PARIS (Reuters) - Tiger Woods accepted responsibility for the American defeat at the Ryder Cup after slumping to a fourth straight loss at Le Golf National, beaten 2&1 by Jon Rahm in the singles on Sunday.
After ending a five-year victory drought by winning the Tour Championship in Atlanta last Sunday, Woods could not replicate that form and looked mentally drained all week in Paris.
Even in singles, the one Ryder Cup format where he had a good record, Woods could not rise to the occasion, losing for the first time since his debut against Costantino Rocca in 1997.
“It’s disappointing because I went 0-4, and that’s four points to the European team,” Woods said after Europe had clinched victory in the biennial event.
“I’m one of the contributing factors to why we lost the Cup, and it’s not a lot of fun. It doesn’t feel very good.
“It’s frustrating because we came here, I thought we were all playing pretty well, and I just didn’t perform at the level that I had been playing, and just got behind early in the matches and never got back.”
Woods now has a 13-21-3 (wins-losses-halves) career Ryder Cup record, a puzzling statistic for arguably the greatest player of all-time, his 14 major titles second only to the 18 won by Jack Nicklaus.
He has been on the winning team only once in eight appearances in the event.
Woods arrived in Paris on a high from the Tour Championship, but the expenditure of adrenaline from that victory may have contributed to his mediocre play.
Coming up against opponents in top form did not help either.
Woods three times had the misfortune to face the European powerhouse duo of Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood, who teamed up for four wins.
Woods has probably seen enough of British Open champion Molinari this year.
It was the Italian who withstood Woods’s charge at Carnoustie in July, staying calm amid frenzied scenes playing with the American, who electrified the gallery as he stormed into the lead halfway through the final round.
Woods on Sunday also ran into a spirited opponent in Rahm, who birdied the first hole and never looked back.
“The incredible pride I feel, to beat Tiger Woods, I grew up watching that guy,” the 23-year-old Rahm said.
“To play the golf I did, barely missed any shots, and to clinch it the way I did, a lot of emotions.
“I had to play my best golf and I did.”
Spaniard Rahm dedicated his win to his late compatriot Seve Ballesteros, the five-times major champion whose passion for the Ryder Cup helped lift the event from virtual obscurity into one of the biggest events on the calendar.
“That was for Seve,” Rahm said. “That was for him, not for me.”
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Ed Osmond