When Rory McIlroy emerged from the back of a police car at Medinah Country Club minutes before his Ryder Cup Sunday match against Keegan Bradley, legendary golf writer Dan Jenkins tweeted, “The only thing that would have made Rory’s late entrance better: if his cop-car escort had been driven by Jake and Elwood Blues.”
Michael Sneed of the Chicago Sun-Times tracked down McIlroy’s Sunday driver, Patrick Rollins, the deputy police chief of Lombard, Ill. He wasn’t on a “mission from God” like the Blues Brothers, but Rollins was aware of his great responsibility as he raced McIlroy from the European team hotel to the golf course.
“I was just doing my duty,” said Rollins, whose fast thinking and deft driving Sunday is being credited with getting tardy golf ace McIlroy to the Medinah Club in time to snatch the cup from Team USA.
“The Ryder Cup was won on the golf course and not on the road,” chuckled Rollins.
“But I am getting a lot of ribbing for not driving to the wrong golf course or getting a flat tire,” Rollins [said].
“But believe me, I would have done it for the American players if they had wound up being accidentally late like McIlroy.”
The Sun-Times’ also describes the scene on Sunday morning around the Westin Hotel in Lombard, where the European players were staying. Deputy Chief Rollins said that Lombard officials who were coordinating travel to the course started wondering about McIlroy, who thought his tee time for his singles match against Keegan Bradley was at 12:25 p.m. The actual tee time was 11:25 a.m., and when McIlroy realized what was happening, he only had about a half-hour to get to the course.
According to Google Maps, the drive from the Westin in Lombard to Medinah takes 20 minutes in no traffic, forget about during a sporting event attended by tens of thousands.
Exiting the hotel, McIlroy jumped into the front seat of an unmarked squad car. Rollins was at the wheel.
“He looked stunned, anxious and looked like a lot was going through his mind like I would have been,” said Rollins. “So I asked him if he’d be okay with me driving because of the possibility of motion sickness.”
McIlroy said: “No, just get me there. Get me there.”
Quoth Rollins: “He was very composed, but I kept reassuring him we’d get to the course on time. I believe it was 11 a.m. when he got in the car and we must have gotten to the club in 30 minutes. It’s hard to gauge.”
Rollins radioed ahead to traffic posts, used his sirens to bust-up traffic at one juncture and got McIlroy to the golf course in the nick of time.
The rest is history.
Rory later tweeted a picture with the officer: