Great Britain & Ireland's defence of the Walker Cup at the National Golf Links of America looked to be in safe hands with a team packed full of talent and players who had conquered in the UK and the United States during the season. Instead, Nigel Edwards, the GB&I captain, was left to rake over the debris of a sobering 17-9 defeat at the hands of a rampant American side.
It was GB&I's biggest loss in the biennial battle since they were crushed 18-6 at Quaker Ridge in 1996. "We didn't do the simple things well," reflected Edwards, the Welshman who holed the winning putt in the 2003 Walker Cup at Ganton. "We didn't hole out well enough. We missed greens with wedges, which is very costly, especially when the punishment of short siding yourself was so severe."
In the build up to the contest, Edwards had said that "it will all come down to the short game and that's what we've been concentrating on". His plan of attack went out of the window as his highly-rated side struggled to perform the basics and Jim Holtgrieve's US team seized on the GB&I mistakes while capitalising on their own opportunities.
Edwards led GB&I to Walker Cup victory at Royal Aberdeen in 2011 but, having had the traditional two cracks at glory as skipper, it looks as though his tenure will end on a low note.
"It's up to the Royal & Ancient to choose who the captain is," he added, when asked about leading the side again at Lytham in 2015. "I haven't been asked. Of course you'd do it [if asked]. Wouldn't anyone want to captain GB&I? I don't really think I'm good enough now having lost by such a heavy margin. I put my heart and soul into this over the last four years and it's very disappointing."
Matthew Fitzpatrick, the Sheffield teenager who won the silver medal at the Open before going on to become the first Englishman to win the US Amateur Championship since 1911, threw his support behind the captain.
"I think Nigel has been a great captain, very enthusiastic and motivating," he said. "You certainly wanted to succeed for him. I don't think it's his fault at all so I don't think he should be beating himself up about it. It's one of those things where they've picked the best 10 players in GB&I and we've not played well enough as a team."
In a modern game of full-time amateurs who are, by and large, professionals in waiting, it was two career amateurs who struck a blow for tradition as the US swept to victory.
Eyebrows were raised when the selection policy dictated that two spots would be going to mid-amateur players at the expense of prospects from the much-lauded college scene. Nathan Smith, a 35-year-old financial adviser who played in the 2011 match, and 45-year-old Todd White took those places and sparkled during the final day singles.
White beat Rhys Pugh 4&3, while Smith claimed the winning point with a similar margin of victory over Nathan Kimsey of GB&I. "It's almost overwhelming," said a jubilant Smith.