AMERICAN captain Tom Watson has deflected responsibility for his team's decisive loss in the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, saying Europe "kicked our butts - they were better players".
Watson's comment came after his captaincy and selections were questioned by some American commentators and players, including Phil Mickelson, who suggested Paul Azinger, the last man to captain the USA to a victory in 2008, should be reinstated for the next edition in Chaska, Minnesota, in 2016.
"Unfortunately, we have strayed from the winning formula in 2008 for the last three Ryder Cups, and we need to consider maybe getting back to that formula that helped us play our best," said Mickelson, who has played under 10 different captains. "I don't know why we strayed from it. I don't know why we don't ever try going back to it."
The Americans needed a miracle on the final day, trailing 10-6 ahead of the 12 singles matches.
A comeback was never a possibility after Rory McIlroy beat his good friend Rickie Fowler five-and-four, and Graeme McDowell staged a late rally to beat Jordan Speith two-and-one.
Patrick Reed, Mickelson and Matt Kuchar kept the dream alive for the USA, but the eighth victory in the past 10 Ryder Cups for Europe was sealed when Welshman Jamie Donaldson played "the wedge of my life", to birdie the 15th and defeat Keegan Bradley four-and-three.