By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
MEDINAH, Ill. — Rory McIlroy said the policeman drove "fast enough." He even asked the young Northern Irishman if he suffered from motion sickness.
"I’m like ‘No, I don’t care, I don’t care. Just get me to that first tee,’" McIlroy recalled.
The police escort became necessary when McIlroy confused his tee time with what it would have been in Eastern Time. Unfortunately for the 23-year-old Northern Irishman, though, this Chicago suburb is on Central Time, which is an hour earlier.
Thanks to one of Chicago’s finest, McIlroy ended up making his tee time with 11 minutes to spare. Not to worry, European Captain Jose Maria Olazabal — McIlroy ended up beating Keegan Bradley 2 and 1.
"The last couple days were very long. Captain Olazábal wanted to play me in all four sessions, so I needed just that extra bit of sleep,” McIlroy joked.
"No, to be honest, I looked at the tee times last night, and I must have saw them in eastern time and I thought it was 12:25 instead of 11:25. Walking out my hotel room door this morning at 11 o’clock, and I get a phone call saying, ‘You’re on the tee in 25 minutes.’ … I’ve never been so worried going to the golf course."
Once he got to Medinah, McIlroy had time to put on his golf shoes, eat an energy bar and hit a few practice putts. The crowd on the first tee, many listening to either the NBC or SiriusXM broadcasts on their radios, made sure the world No. 1 knew they knew about his gaffe.
Sergio Garcia had another explanation.
"We actually were talking yesterday after dinner, and he said to me, ‘You know, when you went through that year without warming up, how did it feel?’" Garcia reported. "I said, ‘You know, it’s quite interesting. The best thing about it is you always come out to the course with the right attitude, because it doesn’t matter how bad your shot is on the first tee; it’s the best shot you’ve hit that day.’
"So he said, ‘You know, I might try that tomorrow.’"
McIlroy wasn’t exactly giving credence to Garcia’s words. But the world No. 1 did think it helped that he didn’t have time to think about the magnitude of the Sunday Singles session.
"I just went out and played, and I played probably the best I’ve played all week," McIlroy said. "I still would have liked to have gotten here sooner, but I delivered my point for the team, and that was the most important thing."
- Rory McIlroy