How Americans helped McIlroy and Europe win the Ryder Cup

Oct 2, 2012

Police and PGA officials tell how they got McIlroy to the course on time

THE AMERICANS who unwittingly helped Europe's amazing Ryder Cup triumph have lifted the lid on how they made sure Rory McIlroy got to the course on time after he got his tee time wrong and almost forfeited his match.

The Northern Irish world number one had set his watch to the wrong time zone and believed his match against Keegan Bradley was not due to start until 12.25 local time and decided to spend the morning relaxing at the team hotel.

Fortunately, a US PGA transport official, Maggie Budzar, noticed that McIlroy had not surfaced by 10.30am. "I knew Rory's tee time was 11.25 and he was the third group to go off. And we still hadn't seen him," she said.

The Guardian explained that she realised that McIlroy was still at the hotel and alerted the European Tour officials. "At first I was going to drive him to the course... I then asked a trooper at the front if he could take him with the flash light on. He said that would be OK. I gave Rory the choice and he went straight to the front seat of the trooper's car. That was about 10.52."

Pat Rollins, deputy chief of Lombard Police Department in Illinois, then rushed McIlroy to the Medinah Country Club. He arrived 10 minutes before his tee time. Had he been any more than five minutes late he would have forfeited the match, and Europe's attempts to retain the Ryder Cup would have been in tatters.

Rollins told BBC Radio 5 live: "He rode in the front passenger's seat with me. We whisked him away up to the course. I had radioed ahead, just to make sure certain lanes of traffic were opened for us so we could make it to the course with time to spare.

"He was receiving a lot of phone calls en route. We had minimal conversation but he was a gentleman."

According to the Guardian Rollins' contribution to the cause was not forgotten. "Europe's team autographed two Medinah flags during their celebrations on Sunday evening, which will be sent to Rollins as a 'thank you' gesture," it reported.

But The Daily Telegraph reports that many of the American team were so disappointed after the tournament they could not bring themselves to join the Europeans for the traditional drink. "It was a tough day for them,” said European captain, Jose Maria Olazabal. "They didn't want to party."

Accounts of the celebrations appear to differ. "It wasn't wild, they all behaved," said Olazabal. However, Nicolas Colsaerts painted a slightly different picture: “It was just a good old fashioned party with drinks flying in the air and other stupid stuff going on," he said. "It was like a 21st birthday party... Francesco Molinari was wearing a blonde wig which made him look like Marilyn Monroe."

Sign up for our daily newsletter