MEDINAH, Ill. — Rory McIlroy is tempted to relive a bit of history at this week’s BMW Championship. He might eschew his courtesy car in favor of arriving at Medinah Country Club in a police cruiser.
“You know, they did offer one to me, so whether I take them up on it or not, I'm not sure," he said. "Hopefully I won't need it, and we're staying a little closer to the course this time.”
He did need it on the final day of the 2012 Ryder Cup.
McIlroy nearly missed his singles match that Sunday at Medinah when he got confused with the time zones. Ranked No. 1 in the world then, the native of Northern Ireland saw a listing that he was to play Keegan Bradley in the third match at 12:25 p.m. ET, though Medinah is in the central time zone, meaning his match was to begin at 11:25 a.m.
"I was just casually walking out of my hotel room and got a phone call saying you've got 25 minutes until you tee off,” McIlroy said at the time. “I've never been so worried driving to the golf course. Luckily, there was a state trooper outside who kind of gave me the escort to here, and if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have got here in time.”
McIlroy arrived 12 minutes before his match was to start. He hit no golf balls. He fired down an energy bar, stroked a few putts, and then went on to defeat Bradley, 2 and 1, as Europe rallied from a 10-6 deficit for an unprecedented comeback win in America.
Currently No. 3 in the world, McIlroy enters this week’s BMW Championship ranked No. 3 in the FedEx Cup standings. He’ll play the first two rounds with Brooks Koepka and Patrick Reed, the two players ranked in front of him in the playoff standings. Their first-round tee time is 10:48 a.m. That’s Central time, by the way.
McIlroy, 30, was asked if it seemed like seven years since that crazy final day at the Ryder Cup.
“It does. I've played in three Ryder Cups since then. Yeah, a lot has happened,” said the four-time major winner. "Yeah, it sort of does. It does and it doesn't. I mean, I remember it very well, but at the same time, you look back at all the things that I've experienced and done since then, and a lot has happened in seven years.”
One of those things was winning the FedEx Cup in 2016.
As an aside, the police car that saved McIlroy’s Ryder Cup Sunday lives on in more than just memory. England’s Ian Poulter, the hero for Europe in the 2012 matches with a 4-0 record, tweeted a photo of a plain black Ford sedan in September 2016 with the message: “Can anyone guess what the Ford on the right is? And its significance?”
An avid car collector, Poulter had purchased the car.
Poulter said he bought the car for about $7,000 from Golf Channel, which had acquired it via an auction just a few months after the Ryder Cup that year.
"The interior got an overhaul," Poulter said. "It's got Rory's signature etched into the seats and an engraving of the Ryder Cup. I think the long-term picture for the car is to get a full paint job and etch all around the entire car the history of the Ryder Cup and then allow it to be used for charity events so people can see the car, take it out for a drive and do whatever at events."
Poulter confesses he does not know the model of the car. "The important thing is it got him [McIlroy] here in time, otherwise, the car wasn't worthy the money it was paid for," he said. "I think it was about 7,000 bucks. A lot cheaper than normal. More expensive than my first car, though."