Rory McIlroy says he was “surprised” by his emotional reaction to his disappointing Ryder Cup performance.
The four-time major winner broke down in tears after beating Xander Schauffele in his singles match.
The Northern Irishman lost all three of his other matches as the United States regained the cup with a record 19-9 victory over Europe in Wisconsin.
“I don’t necessarily get emotional about golf, so I guess in that way it surprised me,” said McIlroy, 32.
After beating Schauffele in the top singles match, a tearful McIlroy said he “should have done more” for his team-mates having endured a deeply dispiriting week against a strong US team.
McIlroy and Ian Poulter lost in both foursomes and fourballs while the Northern Irishman was out-of-sorts when paired with Shane Lowry in Friday’s fourballs as they lost 4&3 to Tony Finau and Harris English.
McIlroy was dropped by captain Padraig Harrington for the Saturday morning foursomes, the first time he had missed a session in six Ryder Cup appearances.
“I think it was a good thing for me,” added the world number 14, reflecting on his “emotionally charged week”.
“I think maybe I realised a couple of things about myself that I hadn’t known, or maybe I had known but I was trying to keep down and not let them out.
“I was surprised at how emotional I got, but after a little bit of reflection over the last couple of weeks, I sort of realised why I did get that way.”
‘I think when I play my best, I’m the best player in the world’
McIlroy is one of eight European Ryder Cup players in action at the CJ Cup in Las Vegas this week in a strong field headlined by world number two Dustin Johnson.
However, while McIlroy will have his work cut out if he is to start his 2021-22 PGA Tour season with a win, he believes nobody can beat him when he’s operating at the peak of his powers.
“I think when I play my best, I’m the best player in the world,” he said.
“I haven’t played like that for a while, but I don’t feel like I have to go that far back to whenever the pandemic hit, I was number one in the world.
“Obviously the last 18 months haven’t been what I’ve wanted them to be, but if you keep it in perspective, I’m not that far away.
“And there’s a ton of great players now that play obviously really, really good golf. I feel like the talent pool is just getting deeper and deeper every year, so you have to strive to keep trying to get better to stay where you want to stay.”