Alas, Padraig Harrington will not join the swelled ranks of victorious European Ryder Cup captains. The gleaming gold Samuel Ryder trinket will not adorn his front room, alongside the hefty Wanamaker Trophy and his couple of Claret Jugs.

That sweet, sweet business luncheon moolah will be shoved in Steve Stricker's direction, as he explains to merry CEOs how it was that he managed to coax so much good golf out of the best golfers in the world.

As of Monday, we know our allotted role in the drama – which is to front up and defend our boy from the slings and arrows being fired from the British media execution squad.

Elements of UK social media have embraced the spirit of the late Claude of Arsenal Fan TV semi-fame - "NO PASSION! NO LEADERSHIP! WHERE DOES THAT BOIL DOWN TO? IT BOILS DOWN TO THE F****** NON-PLAYING CAPTAIN!"

That is certainly how the debate is being played out in parts of the social media universe, with English 'golf/footy fans/fathers of three' condemning Padraig Harrington as the "worst captain in living memory" while accounts with suspiciously Irish-looking names respond with comments to the effect of "leave him alone, our players are s***e compared to theirs (with the honorable exception of Shane Lowry, etc.)".

Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy march out from the first tee in their fourballs game on Friday

In truth, the mainstream media verdict over the water has been more understanding than in previous years.

Nick Faldo got the going-over of a lifetime after Europe were smashed in 2008. In that case, there were reams and reams of 'previous' between Faldo and the UK media – he touchingly thanked them "from the heart of my bottom" after winning the 1992 Open Championship.

His primary faults in '08 were making a few gauche speeches and generally rubbing everyone up the wrong way. In his post-captaincy, he continued doing so, characterising Sergio Garcia's performance as "useless" at Gleneagles six years later. Ian Poulter responded on behalf of the team, "It makes me laugh. Faldo is talking about someone being useless at the 2008 Ryder Cup... There were plenty of things a lot of players were unhappy about at Valhalla but none of us criticised him. He may find that begins to change now."

One imagines the genial Harrington will avoid a similar war of words.

The one almost-constant in the history of the Ryder Cup captaincy is that the better the golfer, the worse/less successful the captain.

Evidently, the skillset required to be a great golfer bears no relation to the skillset required to be a great non-golfing captain of a golf team. So far in the 21st century, winning Ryder Cup captains have won a cumulative total of seven major championships, while losing captains have won 25.

One does wonder whether someday in the future, someone on either the European or the PGA Tour will recognise this and appoint a 19-handicapper with a sports psychology degree as captain.

There have been quibbles over some of the pairings, his decision to send out Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton three times and Shane Lowry just twice. Neither Lowry nor Fleetwood – the latter a star in 2018 – got a run in the foursomes.

Perhaps more significantly, he opted to ask for just three wildcard picks (one less than Bjorn in 2018), leaving the rest in the lap of the qualification gods and thereby lumbering himself with Bernd Weisberger and Matt Fitzpatrick.

But these quibbles are largely a case of finicking around the edges.

Any dispassionate investigator or Genesis report writer poring over the wreckage of this defeat, asked to account for the result, would presumably find his attention drawn to the fact that eleven of the USA team are ranked in the top 20 in the world, while a mere four of the Europeans can say the same.

The odd man out in the American team, Scottie Scheffler – a lowly 21st in the world – proceeded to beat the one outlier on the European team, world number one Jon Rahm in the singles.

The star-studded American team and captain Steve Stricker with the Ryder Cup

There was an air of foreboding from early on Friday, with American putts zinging into the hole from all over the place. Glancing down their roster with some trepidation, it was apparent there were barely any weak links.

DJ and Morikawa were the most formidable pairing but Cantlay/Schauffele weren't too far behind. Clearly, aspirant long-drive champ Mr DeChambeau was always going to be a ferocious asset in fourballs.

When the Irish duo were paired together for the Friday afternoon fourballs, they may have been heartened to see Harris English – not the most prepossessing name on the US team sheet – lined up opposite them. Unfortunately, he was joined by big Tony Finau, who proceeded to roll in every putt within about 40ft.

It was all flowing rather differently on the European side, where a number of players were having a horrible time.

Every time the camera zoomed in on poor Tyrrell Hatton, he seemed to be hanging perilously off a grassy slant overlooking Lake Michigan (no one who stuck with Sky's coverage for three days will be in any doubt as to the name of the lake), adopting an ungainly stance and trying to hoike the ball back in the general direction of the fairway.

The cameras mercifully avoided Tyrrell on singles Sunday, only catching up with his match whenever Justin Thomas had another putt to win the hole.

Three European players – Casey, Weisberger, Fitzpatrick – registered no points at all. McIlroy, though he redeemed himself somewhat with a fine win in singles, was abject over the first two days and failed to reach the 16th tee-box in his three losses.

The one-sided scoreline will not see the 2020(21?) Ryder Cup listed among the classic matches. It isn't likely to match Medinah in the Sky rerun stakes.

But in other respects, this was a good edition of the Ryder Cup, one which aided the credibility of the tournament. For those hardened sceptics who always branded the three-day extravaganza as a ludicrously overhyped exhibition match, Rory's tears – not to mention Lowry's – were a compelling reply.

Though the purists will blanche, there was a healthy degree of needle in the air. No one appeared too preoccupied with the carrot of the Nicklaus-Jacklin award, least of all the bickering duo of DeChambeau and Koepka. (The latter shouting "If I break my wrist, it's on f****** both of you" at two rules officials was not the stuff of which Nicklaus-Jacklin award winners are made).

McIlroy won his singles match - but struggled otherwise

USA were pumped to the max and evidently sick of losing. Their home crowd were let off the leash, naturally resulting in some moronic chanting but also a heightened atmosphere. In the absence of Patrick Reed, Justin Thomas availed of the Captain America shaped-hole in the US team and spent much of the weekend prancing around like the loud interloper at a house party in an American teen sex comedy.

The post-Brookline era of ostentatious civility is a distant memory. We're now in the era of the 'player impact programme' and other such outreach events targeted at the youth – the fusty concerns of yesteryear are out of fashion.

And as for the outcome, we finally stumbled on some enlightenment at the post-match press conference. Amid all the talk of atmosphere and combinations and team room dynamics, one questioner asked vanquished captain Harrington the pertinent question.

"Has this," he asked, "simply just come down to golf?"

I knew we'd get to the bottom of it eventually.