Rory's driver discusses Sunday sprint to Medinah

By Ryan LavnerOctober 2, 2012, 3:52 pm

Europe’s 13th team member, the man who helped Rory McIlroy avoid a potentially embarrassing (and costly) situation at the Ryder Cup, said he was “just glad I could play my small part.”

Pat Rollins, the deputy chief of the Illinois Lombard Police Department, was the man who rushed McIlroy to Medinah Country Club on Sunday.

On Saturday night, McIlroy had read the tee times on his phone and mistakenly thought his starting time was 12:25 CT, not 11:25. It wasn’t until his manager, Conor Ridge, called to wish him good luck that he discovered the error.

Fortunately, Rollins was waiting downstairs at the team hotel. McIlroy hopped into the front seat of the cop car and said, “Just get me there. Just get me there.”

“Do you have motion sickness?” Rollins asked.

“No, I don’t care,” McIlroy said. “Just get me to that first tee.”

The world No. 1 arrived at the course 12 minutes before his tee time. He put on his shoes, scarfed down an energy bar, stroked a few practice putts and hurriedly walked to the first tee.

McIlroy’s opponent, Keegan Bradley, the U.S.’s hottest player, asked him, “'Is everything OK, no one’s hurt or anything?’ I told him everything was fine.”

“He was nervous,” Rollins said of McIlroy, according to BBC Radio 5 Live. “If I was in his shoes I’d have been as well. I had gone to the hotel to check in with our officers. I realized that one player had not come down from their room to get transported by the drivers to the course. 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.”

Despite the anxious start to his day, McIlroy still won the match, 2 and 1. And the Europeans, of course, staged an incredibly rally and retained the Ryder Cup, 14 ½ to 13 ½.

“They jokingly said if I hadn’t, the U.S. would have won the Ryder Cup,” Rollins said, according to the Irish Times. “But the Ryder Cup should be settled on the course, not in traffic. We would have done the same for any American or European player, though I must admit it was extra special that he is the world No. 1.”

On Monday night, McIlroy tweeted (the picture can be seen here):

Rory McIlroy

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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

“I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

“DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.