MEDINAH, Ill. –- Rory McIlroy’s mistake almost left the Europeans without their best player as they began a historic comeback on the Ryder Cup’s final day. McIlroy needed a police escort to arrive at Medinah with 11 minutes to spare, but the lack of warm-up time didn’t impact his play. He beat Keegan Bradley, one of the United States’ strongest performers, 2 and 1, in the day’s third match.
McIlroy was watching a television program that displayed his singles tee time in Eastern time. Medinah is located in the Central time zone, though. He was scheduled to tee off at 11:25 a.m., not 12:25 p.m., as he saw on television. He was walking out of his hotel room when he received a phone call that he was set to tee off in 25 minutes. A police escort got him to the course with 11 minutes to spare, giving McIlroy time to change shoes and hit a few putts. ”Just your average sort of warm?up back at the course,” he said.
“I liked the idea of playing one of their strongest players and go out there a put a point on the board early for the team, and I was able to do that,” McIlroy said.
The crowd chanted “Glad you made it” and “Central time zone” when McIlroy arrived on the first tee. McIlroy made birdies on Nos. 4-6 to go 2 up, but Bradley squared the match after McIlroy’s bogey at the par-4 12th. Birdies at Nos. 14 and 15 returned McIlroy to 2 up, and he closed out the match with pars on his next two holes.
This isn’t the first time McIlroy has been tardy. He also overslept before his final round at the PGA Championship, and had to be awoken by his father. McIlroy arrived at the course just 30 minutes before teeing off but went on to win by eight shots.
Arriving at the golf course Sunday may have been a struggle. Playing was the easy part.