Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Final-day drama for McIlroy

Europe's Rory McIlroy won his final-day match at the Ryder Cup (AP)
Europe's Rory McIlroy won his final-day match at the Ryder Cup (AP)

Rory McIlroy has revealed the moment when he realised he might be late for his Ryder Cup singles match on a dramatic final day at Medinah.

McIlroy had seemingly been confused by American time zones, with television coverage listing his start time at 12:25pm. However, that referred to Eastern Standard Time (EST), which is 11:25am Central Time (CT).

"I was just casually strolling out of my hotel room when I got a phone call saying you have 25 minutes," McIlroy revealed. "I have never been so worried driving to the course."

He added: "Luckily there was a State Trooper outside who gave me the escort, if not I would not have made it on time."

Two minutes late and he would have forfeited the opening hole against Keegan Bradley, five minutes late and he faced disqualification, but to the relief of every European he arrived in an unmarked car with 10 minutes to go.

Former captain Colin Montgomerie, whose side had the advantage of staying on site for their win at Celtic Manor in 2010, said: "That is absolutely ridiculous at this level. It's quite unbelievable for the world number one golfer. How this happened I do not know.

"Where is the captain? Where are the vice-captains? Where is his caddie?"

Fortunately for McIlroy, he is not a player who needs to spend hours on the range and after a quick warm-up on the putting green, he went out and beat Bradley - who had won all three of his matches with Phil Mickelson this week - 2&1.

Asked how soon he calmed down, McIlroy added: "As soon as I got here. If I warm up for 40 minutes it's a long time anyway. I warmed up for 25 minutes before I won the (US) PGA this year. It was nearly a good thing because I did not have to think about it too much."

McIlroy later revealed it was his phone, rather than television coverage, to blame for his late arrival, saying: "I read the tee times on my phone, and they are obviously on Eastern time and it's Central time here."

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