Rory McIlroy is well aware how close he came to going from hero to goat when he barely made his tee time for his Sunday singles match in the finale of the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah.
The world No. 1, who was the toast of U.K. and the Continent for his stellar play all season, admitted to Ireland’s RTE that he was frightened he had blown Europe’s chances for victory by getting his time zones mixed up. But for Illinois state trooper Pat Rollins, McIlroy would likely have missed his match with Keegan Bradley instead of arriving at the tee with 11 minutes to spare.
"On Saturday night, before I went to bed, I was watching...the Golf Channel and I saw they posted the tee times [for Sunday]...in Eastern time...and we were in Central time in Chicago, so 12:35 Eastern time is 11:35 there," McIlroy explained to RTE’s Greg Allen. "Next morning I get up and get out of the shower...and it’s 11. I get a phone call from Conor, my manager, and he’s like ‘Are you at the golf course?’ and I’m, ‘No I’m not.’ He goes, ‘Well, you should be, you’ve got half an hour to your tee time.’
"I’m like ‘No, I’m not, I’ve got an hour and a half, I’m off at 12:35.’ He says, ‘No You’re not. You’re off at 11:35.’
"I have never been so scared going to a golf course. It was such a mad rush....Luckily there was a state trooper waiting for me and if it wasn’t for him, if I wasn’t in that car, I wouldn’t have made my tee time."
Unfortunately for Bradley and the Americans, McIlroy noted that he played his best golf of the week on Sunday.
"I think I made six birdies...I was...6-under for the match and won 2 and 1," McIlroy said, and the rest, as captain Davis Love III and his team know all too well, is history.
The squad car that deputy chief Rollins chauffeured McIlroy to Medinah in, by the way, could belong to some car buff with a large garage. Seems the Village of Lombard plans to list the 2005 Ford Crown Victoria on eBay in January, according to the Daily Herald’s Marie Wilson.
(Photo: Getty Images)
"Since it's drawing so much attention," village manager David Hulseberg told Wilson in October, "we figure we have nothing to lose by putting it out there for any European or anyone who would like to buy the car and do whatever they would like with it."
We're guessing Bradley would have an idea or two of what to do to that blasted automobile.
Once Rollins gets his next ride, a $17,000 Ford Fusion Hybrid that’s on order, the village will take bids on the Crown Vic.
"Anything above and beyond what we normally receive for a police vehicle of its kind would be a bonus to the village and the taxpayers," said public works director Carl Goldsmith.
We also know of a certain dual money title winner with a little extra cash he might want to donate to the cause...