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Latest News

Time traveler: Recounting McIlroy's time-zone misadventure in '12 Ryder Cup

Saturday, September 20, 2014 9:14:00 AM

10:54 a.m. CT

There have already been a few missed calls to his phone on this morning of Sept. 30, 2012, but Rory McIlroy doesn’t think much of them until the knock on the door.

Already preparing for a Ryder Cup tee time that he believes is an hour and a half away, he is neither ruffled nor rushed. His mindset, he says later, is wholly on winning a full point against Keegan Bradley and helping Europe climb out of the 10-6 hole it had dug over the first two days.

On Saturday afternoon, he had been reduced to merely a dazzled onlooker as teammate Ian Poulter birdied the final five holes to win their fourballs match. Before leaving the course a little while afterward, he checked his Sunday tee time: 12:25 p.m., it read. Plenty of time to sleep in before he needed to get to Medinah Country Club.

Until that knock on the door.

“It's one of the girls from the European Tour,” he recalls two years later. “They're like, ‘You need to go. You're going to miss your tee time.’ I was panicked.  I was sort of half-dressed. I was just getting ready. They're like, ‘Look, we'll take care of everything else. We'll take your suit for the closing ceremony. We'll get all that stuff sorted. But there's a police car waiting for you downstairs. You need to get in that and go.’”

Photos: 2012 Ryder Cup final day

That 12:25 p.m. tee time? It was listed in Eastern Time. But Chicago, of course, is located in the Central Time Zone. He has about 30 minutes to make his tee time.

10:58 a.m. CT

Fully dressed and fully panicked, McIlroy walks out of the lobby of his hotel and directly into the squad car of Chicago Police officer Pat Rollins.

Had he wanted to, had he chosen the route of American hero and rationalized that the department motto of “We Serve and Protect” didn’t apply to Europeans who were late for their Ryder Cup tee times, Rollins could have elected to let McIlroy fend for himself. Chances are, with traffic, he never would have made it.

Instead, Rollins welcomes the golfer into his squad car and blares the sirens. The usual 25-minute trip to Medinah takes only 15.

“I would have done the same thing for an American player,” the officer would later say. “We were their hosts; they stayed in our community. The Ryder Cup was to be played on the course, not on the road.”

11:13 a.m. CT

By now an incident of international proportions, cameras are rolling as McIlroy makes his long-awaited and much-curious arrival at the golf course.

He quickly thanks Rollins and begins thinking about the match – the match for which he had all morning to prepare and is now racing toward without any preparation.

“Once I got there and knew I was going to make it,” he explains, “I was just saying, ‘Let's try and keep it together for the first six holes, like keep it to all square or even just 1 down or something, but just try to keep it tight for the first six.’”

11:15 a.m. CT

Any casual golfer who has rushed from work to catch a quick nine holes before dark can sympathize with what happened next.

Ten minutes before one of the biggest tee times in his life, McIlroy is furiously changing his shoes in the locker room.

11:19 a.m. CT

Now six minutes before that time, he hits a few chips and rolls a few putts on the practice green.

“I tried to hit a couple of chips and a couple of putts to sort of calm myself down,” he says. “Didn't work.”

No time to hit any full shots on the driving range, no time to check out the pin sheet, no time to strategize his way around the course.

11:23 a.m. CT

After the most whirlwind half-hour of his life, McIlroy arrives at the first tee. His opponent, Bradley, asks if everything is all right, but McIlroy can barely hear him over the partisan crowd.

Word had gotten out. The story had been told. McIlroy’s explanation for showing up late is already making international headlines by the time he reaches this point.

The massive galleries surrounding Medinah’s first tee know all about it. And so when he finally, at the last minute, shows up with a sheepish smile in between huffs of relieved sighs, they serenade him with an appropriate chant.


11:25 a.m. CT

With his first full swing since Saturday afternoon’s fourballs match, McIlroy misses the fairway to the right.

Not optimal, but all things considered, it’s not awful, either.

11:36 a.m. CT

After missing the green, McIlroy nearly chips in for birdie.

His par is conceded and when Bradley matches that score, all the frayed nerves and anxiety of the morning begin to fade.

12:41 p.m. CT

Focusing on just keeping it close for the first six holes, McIlroy does much better.

A birdie on the sixth puts him 2 up early on – and more importantly, it keeps him from further embarrassment.

“After that, I was calmed down,” he recalls. “Able to get into some sort of rhythm. Then I was like, ‘Well, this is actually OK.’”

3:19 p.m. CT

Unpredictably, unexpectedly, McIlroy never trails in the match.

When Bradley misses his birdie attempt on the 17th hole, it’s over. The match is a 2-and-1 victory for McIlroy, one of five full points for Europe in the first five matches.

3:20 p.m. CT

Finally able to breathe a sigh of relief, McIlroy takes a bow.

“It was the best golf I played of the whole week,” he says now. “I shot 65 or 66. I was 6 under par for the match. I beat Keegan, who was arguably one of the best players for the U.S. team that week.”

He has not only absolved himself of infinite boneheadedness in sporting lore, he has helped put his team in position for an improbable comeback.

8:37 p.m. CT

Nearly 10 hours after McIlroy rushed from his hotel room to a patrol car to the course to the first tee, he attends a news conference with his victorious teammates, attempting to explain exactly what happened.

Some of them laugh. A few mutter well-intentioned needling under their breath. The team’s captain, Jose Maria Olazabal, just shakes his head in disbelief.

“In a way, it wasn't a bad thing because I didn't have time to think about it,” McIlroy says. “I still would have liked to have gotten here sooner, but I delivered my point for the team, and that was the most important thing.

“I was like, ‘Just get me there, get me there.’”

Blair maintains Web.com lead as darkness halts play

Friday, September 19, 2014 7:59:00 PM

Zac Blair kept up his strong play and held a three-shot lead when darkness fell bringing an end to Day 2 of the Web.com Tour Championship with a handful of players still on the course. Here's how things look with two days in the books at TPC Sawgrass’ Valley Course:

Leaderboard: Zac Blair (-12), Derek Fathauer (-9), Sung Joon Park (-7), James Nitties (-6), Chad Collins (-6), Whee Kim (-6), Tom Gillis (-6), Jason Gore (-6)

What it means: Considered a long shot entering the week to earn his PGA Tour card after missing the cut at each of the first three Web.com Finals events, Blair now sits just 39 holes from his goal. Blair was on the seventh hole, his 16th of the day, when play was called because of darkness. He'll be out bright and early tomorrow to finish up his round. Formidable challengers aren’t far behind however, with Fathauer, who has two top-10 finishes in these Finals, just three strokes back. 

Round of the day: Tommy Gainey, who won the PGA Tour’s McGladrey Classic in 2012, set the new course record at Pete Dye’s Valley Course with a 62. “Two Gloves” had nine birdies on the day to a lone bogey – on the par-4 15th hole – and the Big Break alum could earn back his Tour card if he can keep up his strong play this weekend.

Best of the rest: Blair may be the hottest guy at Dye’s Valley course so far, but Fathauer is proving his recent string of solid play is no fluke. He sits in second, following up yesterday’s 65 with a 4-under 66. Gore, whose only PGA Tour win came nine years ago and who hasn't played full-time on the PGA Tour since 2009 sits T-4 after a 5-under 65. Gore already locked up his Tour card for the upcoming season based on money earned this year, but he still has a chance to make a signifigant move on the priority list with 36 holes to play.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Rodgers had a chance to salvage his disappointing rookie campaign at the Web.com Tour Championship, but instead shot 72-72 to miss the cut. After an incredible college career at Stanford, Rodgers turned pro this summer and battled his way through injuries to hold the 50th and final spot in the priority rankings coming into the week. He now faces another season of trying to play his way into the big leagues.

Main storyline heading into Saturday: At (almost) the halfway mark of the Web.com Tour Championship, the fun is just getting started. With 25 new Tour cards up for grabs and the priority order of all 50 spots on the line - including the No. 1 overall spot thanks to Carlos Ortiz's missed cut - weekend fireworks are sure to be coming, that is, if the rain stays away. The 1 hour, 18 minute delay Friday is what led to the final few groups not being able to finish their rounds.

Quote of the day: “I didn’t see it coming. Have you seen how I’ve played for the last year and a half? I’ve played terrible. It must have been an imposter, but today I played like I’m capable of playing. It’s very good to see, and that means good things for the next two days.” – Gainey, on his course-record 62.

Golf Channel and NBC Ryder Cup Programming Guide

Friday, September 19, 2014 5:00:00 PM

The 40th Ryder Cup won’t be short on drama as Europe and the United States go head-to-head in Scotland at Gleneagles PGA Centenary Course. Anchored by Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer and Ian Poulter, reigning champion Team Europe will seek to defend its title. Meanwhile, Team USA will search for redemption from 2012’s stunning loss at Medinah with the help of Ryder Cup veterans Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar and Ryder Cup rookie Jordan Spieth.

Throughout the week, Golf Channel and NBC are set to deliver 85.5 hours of coverage. Morning Drive kicks off Ryder Cup week with Ryder Cup analysis and interviews on Monday at 7AM ET on Golf Channel. Live From the Ryder Cup, beginning Monday at 10AM ET and continuing throughout the week on Golf Channel, will feature news, highlights, analysis, news conferences and the Opening and Closing ceremonies.

Golf Channel and NBC will provide live coverage of the Ryder Cup matches beginning Friday at 2:30AM ET on Golf Channel and continuing through the Final Day on NBC. Debuting this year will be Golf Channel’s Ryder Cup Alternate Shot, which will complement NBC’s live weekend coverage. Hosted by David Feherty and Gary Williams, Ryder Cup Alternate Shot will feature lively discussion and analysis of the matches.

Watch live streaming of Ryder Cup week programming on Golf Channel via Golf Live Extra. Visit GolfChannel.com’s Ryder Cup Hub to keep up with the latest news, stories and highlights.

Follow Golf Channel on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and take part in the social conversation using hashtags #RyderCup, #TeamUSA and #TeamEurope

Golf Channel & NBC Ryder Cup Programming Guide:

Monday, September 22

Morning Drive: 7-9AM ET

Live From the Ryder Cup: 10-11AM ET; 7PM-8:30PM ET

Tuesday, September 23

Live From the Ryder Cup: 6AM-2PM ET

Wednesday, September 24

Live From the Ryder Cup: 6AM-2PM ET

Thursday, September 25

Live From the Ryder Cup: 6-9AM ET

Live From the Ryder Cup (Opening Ceremony): 9AM-1PM ET

Live From the Ryder Cup: 10PM-2:30AM ET

Friday, September 26

Ryder Cup – Day 1: 2:30AM-1PM ET

Live From the Ryder Cup: 1-4PM

Saturday, September 27

Live From the Ryder Cup: Midnight-3AM ET

Ryder Cup – Day 2 (NBC): 3AM-1PM ET

Ryder Cup Alternate Shot: 3AM-11:30AM ET

Live From the Ryder Cup: 1-4PM ET

Sunday, September 28

Live From the Ryder Cup: 5AM-7AM ET

Ryder Cup – Final Day (NBC): 7AM-1PM ET

Ryder Cup Alternate Shot: 7AM-11:30AM ET

Live From the Ryder Cup (Closing Ceremony): 1PM-4PM ET