The Illinois policeman who ensured Rory McIlroy made it to his Ryder Cup singles match on time said the 23-year-old was a “nervous” passenger as he was driven to Medinah Country Club.
Mcllroy was due to face American Keegan Bradley at 11:25 local time but misread his tee time.
“I’m getting ribbed at work for this but I am very proud of our force and our community – we did the right thing”
Pat RollinsMcIlroy saviour
The Europe player made it with 10 minutes to spare after being given a lift by deputy chief Pat Rollins.
“He was nervous. If I was in his shoes I’d have been as well!” said Rollins.
The rest of the European team had spent at least an hour at the course preparing for their matches, but Mcllroy’s late arrival meant he was only able to hurriedly eat an energy bar and take a few practice swings before having to dash to the first tee.
However, his disrupted preparation seemed not to affect the two-time major winner – McIlroy won his singles match 2&1.
Rollins said he had no idea when he arrived at the players’ hotel he would end up driving the number one ranked player in the world.
“I had gone to the hotel to check in with our officers. I realised that one player had not come down from their room yet to get transported by the drivers to the course,” Rollins told BBC Radio 5 live.
“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.
“He was receiving a lot of phone calls en route. We had minimal conversation, but he was a great gentleman.”
Had McIlroy missed his match by five minutes he faced disqualification, 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.
However, the officer insisted he could not have handled the situation in any other way.
“I took it as a job well done. 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.
Another American who generated headlines on Monday was ESPN columnist Gene Wojciechowski, whose prediction on Saturday night that the European challenge was finished created controversy on social media websites.
“Firstly, congratulations to Team Europe,” Wojciechowski told 5 live. “It was a remarkable, impressive, historic, emotional, stunning, shocking victory that will go down in the Ryder Cup record books as easily the best comeback in Cup history.
“Then, well, I don’t want to call it an apology. But let’s just say I’ve spent most of the day at home preparing my humble pie recipe.
“I’m more than happy to take the heat. I don’t regret writing the column, but in this case I was 100% wrong.”