Rory McIlroy has thanked the Illinois policeman who ensured he made it to his Ryder Cup singles match on time on Sunday, as the World Number One helped Europe to a famous victory at Medinah Country Club.
The 23 year old confused Eastern and Central time and consequently misread his 11.25 tee time, meaning he was still in his hotel room 25 minutes before he was due to take on American Keegan Bradley.
Luckily Deputy Chief of Lombard Police Department, Pat Rollins, stepped in to save the day and rushed McIlroy to the course in his police car, arriving just 11 minutes before the start of the third singles match, ensuring the US PGA Champion did not incur a penalty or, even worse, disqualification.
McIlroy, who went on to beat Bradley 2&1, was reunited with Rollins after Europe clinched a dramatic 14½ - 13½, and understandably was extremely grateful to the officer.
“I was walking out my hotel room door at 11:00, and I get a phone call saying, ‘You're on the tee in 25 minutes!’ “I'm like, oh,” he said.
“I've never been so worried going to the golf course. Luckily there was a state trooper at the bottom outside the lobby of the hotel that took me here and got me here a lot faster than we would have normally. I had just enough time to put my shoes on, have a couple of putts and go to the first tee.
“In a way it wasn't a bad thing because I didn't have time to think about it, and I just went out and played, and I played probably the best I've played all week. I still would have liked to have got there sooner, but I delivered my point for the team, and that was the most important thing.
“I just said to the officer, ‘Just get me there, get me there.’
“He was asking if I suffered from motion sickness and I just said, ‘I don't care, just get me to that first tee.’”
He added: “If I had let down these 11 other boys and Vice Captains and Captain this week I would never forgive myself. I was just obviously happy to get the point and help the cause out a little bit.”
Rollins has been hailed as a saviour for his part in Europe’s win, but he insists he was just doing his job.
"He was nervous,” he said. “If I was in his shoes I'd have been as well. But he was a gentleman throughout.
“I had gone to the hotel to check in with our officers. I realised that one player had not come down from their room to get transported by the drivers to the course.
"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."
If McIlroy had been two minutes late and he would have forfeited the opening hole against Bradley, Had he been five minutes late he would have faced disqualification with the point being awarded to America. The hosts only lost the Ryder Cup by a single point, so had Rollins not delivered the player to the course his country would have won.
"I took it as a job well done,” he said. “I'm getting ribbed at work for this, but in the end I am very proud of our force and our community. We did the right thing and of course I would have done the same for the American team," he said.