Last night, we couldn't get out quickly enough. A few tongue-loosening bourbons and a couple of ribald wisecracks in front of the mayor of Chicago's wife at a lavish reception meant we ended up being a wanted man in three States. The fact that Team Europe had also won the Ryder Cup again did nothing to lighten the mood of the good folk of the USA. They'll be glad to see the back of us.
Sunday's golfing shenanigans in Illinois were truly remarkable and Europe's last-gasp victory will linger long in the memory. The showdown in the sun was a nerve-shredding epic; an engrossing, emotional spectacle like no other. It was pure sporting theatre, packed full of passion, pride, putts and points scoring. The tension was almost unbearable and the excitement stirred the senses. It had everything, from an unprecedented comeback by Europe to a calamitous collapse by the USA. All week long, we had heard so much about the late Seve Ballesteros. His image was everywhere, on golf bags and sweaters, and his name was evoked to inspire the European crusade. The swashbuckling Spaniard's trademark Houdini acts on the golf course are woven into the fabric of the game, but even by those standards, Team Europe's act of escapology was quite something. At 10-6 down many thought they were dead and buried. Come Sunday night, they were well and truly alive and kicking.
Nobody encapsulated this fighting spirit more than Ian Poulter. Whatever your views on the confident, cocky Englishman, it was hard not to get geed up by his inspirational qualities, his maniacal stare and his frenzied fist-pumping.
"It's a passion I have, it's a passion I've seen at the Ryder Cup for years and years as a kid growing up and it's something that comes from within," said Poulter, who racked up four wins out of four at Medinah and took his all-time record to 12 wins from 15 ties stretching back to a debut in 2004. "I don't know what it is, I just love it."
The Ryder Cup may be a team event but, from a European perspective, it was one man who really injected the affair with renewed vigour. Let's face it, by Saturday afternoon, the whole contest was dying on its feet. The US had the thing in a Double Nelson and were wringing the life out of the contest. The Europeans looked flat and lacked inspiration and questions were being asked about Olazabal's pairings. Why did he leave Poulter and Justin Rose out of the Friday afternoon fourballs after they had forged such an impressive alliance in the morning and momentum was with them? Why was the toiling Lee Westwood trotted out on the Saturday morning when he had been carried through his Friday fourballs match by Nicolas Colsaerts? The heads were down and it was all rather dispiriting. The cup defence was petering out, the big guns were mis-firing and everybody seemed to be missing putts. Ultimately, the players were simply not performing and there's not much a captain can do about that from the sidelines.
At one stage on Saturday, Olazabal's men were 10-4 down, but Poulter ignited the flickering embers with that rousing run of five closing birdies which helped see off Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner and signalled a turning of the tide that would eventually develop into a singles tsunami.
It was remarkable to watch the transformation. Prior to the charge, European faces were as gloomy as Robert the Bruce's cave. As the sun set, and a couple of morale-boosting points had been added to the board, the warriors seemed to be back up for the fight. A near-psychotic Poulter, his face contorted with adrenaline and competitive fire, single-handedly gave them belief as birdie putt after birdie putt dropped. The fraught arena of a Ryder Cup needs strong characters to step up to the plate and, against the odds, show the nerve and conjure the skill that can change a game. Poulter scaled new heights and reached a level of sporting engagement that bordered on the hysterical, but all that energy was funnelled into the right places. The end result was quite devastating.
The final day of the 39th Ryder Cup proved yet again that this transatlantic tussle is the best event in golf as a spectacle. The thrills seems to be much grander, the anguish of defeat seems much more severe and the involvement of the galleries is unique. Whether Bubba Watson's tactic of having the crowd bawling themselves hoarse through the backswing will catch on remains to be seen. It's onwards now to Gleneagles in 2014.
Medinah 2012, meanwhile, will take some beating.