Look, we’ve all been there. It’s just that most of us don’t have the luxury of a police escort readily available when we’re late for work.
But to be fair, none of us have ever slept for Sunday Singles at the Ryder Cup.
You all know the story of Medinah in 2012: how Europe defied every odds of returning and triumphing over Team USA on one of the most dramatic days in golf history.
For Rory McIlroy, there were more than obstacles to overcome – and more in his day than fame.
He needed to beat Chicago’s traffic and his own awkwardness after getting into the wrong time zone.
Everything works in Eastern Time in the United States, including the phone McIlroy was using and the television in his hotel room, which he always casually watched less than half an hour before his game. singles against Keegan Bradley.
It’s around 11 a.m. Central Illinois Time, but the Northern Irishman thinks it’s 10 a.m. One of the greatest moments of his life starts in 25 minutes – and he has no idea.
Suddenly, Team Europe realizes that its star player is nowhere to be found on the pitch. They call him. The penny falls: oh, shit. It’s bad.
The world number one is 15 minutes from the course, but there are 40,000 people there – the traffic is heavy.
Luckily for McIlroy, the Lombard Police Department is waiting downstairs. Deputy Chief Pat Rollins throws the golfer in the front of his car, although his terrible time management probably deserved a spot in the back.
Arrive two minutes late and the first hole will be lost. Five minutes and the point would go to Bradley and Team USA.
There is no doubt that Europe would have lost if that happened – and we wouldn’t be talking about the Medinah miracle, but Rory’s remission.
As if the current sport doesn’t offer enough drama, with Luke Donald and Ian Poulter already leading the European comeback, it has plunged the media into a total frenzy.
Legendary Scotsman Colin Montgomerie said: “He has a very sophisticated watch, maybe he should have used it.
“It’s amazing to think that the world number one can’t just sleep but watch a show and think it’s Eastern Time and not Central Time.
“Not hitting a shot before the first tee is just ridiculous.”
Most casual golfers would allow more than ten minutes to warm up for 18 holes, but that’s all McIlroy got.
Shoes on, a few putts, done. He didn’t even relax, and he didn’t need 18 holes either.
Somehow, after what happened, McIlroy played with all the preparation of someone actually getting out of bed on time, beating Bradley 2 & 1 to score a crucial point for Team Europe.
It was despite the chants of ‘Wakey-wakey’, ‘What time is it?’ and “How’s your hangover?” From the huge American crowd, quickly silenced by the best golfer in the world of the time.
The joke was very present as McIlroy bowed on the 17th green, before celebrating with a giant alarm collar when Martin Kaymer sealed the famous victory.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, in the crowd as a guest of Europe team captain Jose Maria Olazabal, has coached unprecedented athletic talent – but it was enough to stun him even.
“And Rory didn’t even have time to warm up?” He asked. “Wow.”
Of course, McIlroy offered everyone an explanation, and it quickly became one of those things we could all laugh at, albeit earlier than usual.
He said: “I thought I left at 12:25 am instead of 11:25 am and casually stepped out of the hotel room door, and got a call saying you had 25 minutes before departure. .
“I was a little worried at the time. But as soon as I got on the course I was fine and settled into the game and obviously happy to win.
“I read the tee times on my phone, and they’re obviously Eastern Time and it’s Central Time here. So an hour ago, so [it’s just] one of those things.
“It’s my fault, but if I let those 11 other boys and vice-captains and captains down this week, I would never forgive myself.”
“I was with a policeman, I was crossing traffic. I arrived here with about 10 minutes to spare, put on my shoes, a few putts, just your average warm-up on the course.
And what about this American police officer? With Europe winning by just one point, many of his colleagues jokingly accused him of fraternizing with the enemy and accidentally losing the Ryder Cup for Team USA.
He said: “I’m pissed off on both sides, but in the end I’m proud of the Lombard Police Department.
“We did the right thing and we would have done it for either team.”
However, Bradley insists the game would have gone anyway, even though McIlroy arrived more than five minutes late.
If the rulers would have allowed it, we will never know.
Bradley said in 2020: “It was disturbing. I remember an official came to me and said, “Hey, if Rory doesn’t show up, he’s disqualified.”
“I said, ‘Look, I’m not going to lose this game. If he’s late, we’ll let the guys in front go and chase them ”.
“Taking a point off him just because he didn’t show up on time would have been so weird and I didn’t feel good about it at all.” “
Nine years after that fateful day, McIlroy returns to the United States to defend the Ryder Cup for Team Europe, this time in Wisconsin on the famous Whistling Straits, starting Friday.
Can someone remind him that it’s Central Time over there?
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