The showdown between Patrick Reed and Rory McIlroy fuelled the USA at Hazeltine, says Davis Love III.
Davis Love III credited Patrick Reed's heavyweight duel with Rory McIlroy for inspiring the United States to success at the Ryder Cup on Sunday.
Reed was a star throughout the three-day tournament at Hazeltine and was sent out first in the singles on Sunday, while Darren Clarke also opted to deploy Europe's prized asset McIlroy in the opening match, making for a mouth-watering tussle in Minnesota.
The two men did not disappoint, trading blows and playing up to the partisan galleries, before Reed ultimately triumphed 1up to set the tone for the USA's 17-11 victory.
"It was important to see some red on the board," Love told a news conference when asked about the powerhouse contest between Reed and McIlroy.
"Just the excitement level of that match got guys going. We were standing on the first tee, or you're standing on the range or you're still in the team room, just to see him out there fired up and pumped up - I hated to stand there on the first tee and only get to watch it on TV. I wished I had been out there for the whole thing. I saw, I guess, most of the back nine.
"And then Phil's match, there were so many exciting matches, it was hard to know what to watch. The level of play was incredible," he added, referring to Phil Mickelson's thrilling duel with Sergio Garcia, which ended all square after the pair shared 19 birdies.
"Yeah, it was important to get some excitement going in the beginning and get off to a good start. We knew they were going to load the boat, and we had to get off to a good start against them."
Love was the man in charge when the USA gave up a 10-6 lead on Sunday to lose to a European comeback dubbed the Miracle of Medinah in Illinois four years ago.
Tom Watson then oversaw another defeat at Gleneagles in 2014 and Love was asked to return by the taskforce established to maximise the hosts' chances of finally ending their drought this week.
"Probably the reason I ended up being the captain is they knew I would do all the work for a year and a half," Love said.
"I didn't really want to be the captain. I wanted to make this team successful and they ended up putting me in that role.
"I'm extremely proud of this team. They put their heart and soul into this win. They keep thanking me and congratulating me, but I congratulate them.
"There's a lot of pressure on these guys over the last couple years … we haven't had a good run lately, and I'm thrilled for them that they got the win.
"This team's been questioned and beat up for a long time, and I'm proud of the way they came together and the way they played and the way they represented their country."