Tardy McIlroy causes alarm as Europe look to hit back in Medinah30/09/2012 - 17:28:13
Europe’s attempts to equal the biggest ever last-day comeback in Ryder Cup history got off to a chaotic start when Rory McIlroy bizarrely arrived at Medinah just 10 minutes before the start of his singles match.
McIlroy was due to face American Keegan Bradley in the third of the 12 singles contests at 11.25am local time, but only arrived in the car park in an unmarked police car at 11.15am.
That left the world number one just a few minutes to warm up on the putting green near the first tee before facing rookie Bradley, who had won all three of his matches this week alongside Phil Mickelson.
It was not immediately clear what had caused McIlroy’s late arrival, but one possibility was that the Northern Irishman had been confused by time zones, with television coverage listing his start time at 12.25 EST, which is 11.25 Central Time.
The United States held a 10-6 lead going into the final day.
European captain Jose Maria Olazabal told the Golf Channel that his heart was racing when he discovered McIlroy's absence.
“We did not have that in mind,” Olazabal added. “All of a sudden we realised Rory was not here and started to look for him. Finally we got hold of him and he came in with a police escort with 10 or 11 minutes to go.”
There was also plenty of drama on the course already, with Luke Donald and Bubba Watson both making birdie on the first before Donald took the lead with a par on the second.
Ian Poulter, Europe’s undoubted star this week with three wins out of three, then chipped in for a birdie on the first in his match with Webb Simpson, only for the US Open champion to follow him in from 15ft for a half.
It was no surprise McIlroy missed the fairway with his opening drive, the ball flying into the crowd and coming to rest on some electrical cables.
However, the 23-year-old was able to scramble a par and the opening two holes of the match were halved in par.
Donald was getting off to the flying start the European side needed, making a birdie at the fourth from four feet to go two ahead of Watson, while Justin Rose was quickly ahead of Mickelson by the same margin.
Rose holed from 15ft for birdie on the first and was just five feet from the hole on the second before Mickelson found water off the tee and eventually conceded.
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