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It wasn’t the state cops, and don’t blame Quinn for this one

Wednesday, Oct 3, 2012

* This story about how the Europeans bested the Americans in the Ryder Cup because Rory McIlroy got a ride to the golf course is making the rounds

Next time the Illinois State Police are looking for donations, their first call should be to Rory McIlroy.

The world’s No. 1 golfer needed a police escort to make it to the first tee on time Sunday after mixing up his time zones. He made it with 10 minutes to spare, just enough time to scarf down an energy bar, take a few strokes on the putting green and hustle to the tee.

“I’ve never been so worried driving to the golf course before,” McIlroy said. “Luckily there was a state trooper who gave me the escort to here. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have got here in time.”

McIlroy was reading the Ryder Cup tee times on his phone and saw that he and Keegan Bradley were teeing off at 12:25 p.m. One problem: That was Eastern time. Medinah Country Club, outside Chicago, is in the Central time zone.

“All of the sudden we realized Rory was not here, and we started to look for him,” European captain Jose Maria Olazabal said. “Nobody knew.”

Finally, at 11, someone called McIlroy. With the police escort, McIlroy pulled up at the Medinah clubhouse 10 minutes before he and Bradley went off.

* Les Winkler, the sports editor of the Southern Illinoisan blames Gov. Pat Quinn for the American loss

McIlroy probably misses his tee time and forfeits his match, if he doesn’t get a police escort to Medinah.

With the escort, McIlroy arrives just in time to slip into his golf shoes and sprint to the tee box. He went on to defeat Keegan Bradley in a crucial match.

There it is folks. Our tax money was used to help Europe retain the Ryder Cup.

Worst of all, the governor hasn’t taken any action against the state trooper with seriously misplaced priorities. Seriously, how difficult would it have been to mistakenly drop McIlroy off at Butler National?

Yeah governor, this one is on you.

* But it turns out that the Illinois State Police wasn’t to blame. It was a local cop

It was Lombard Deputy Police Chief Patrick Rollins who got McIlroy to the altar of golf at the Medinah Country Club on time — saving him from the humiliation of forfeiting a hole, facing disqualification and potentially losing the Ryder Cup to the Americans.

What has been described as the one of the biggest last-day comebacks in Ryder Cup history — the Europeans’ win despite trailing the Americans 10-6 going into Sunday’s matches — almost didn’t happen because McIlroy was accidentally late due to a time zone glitch.

The scenario leading up to Europe’s victory began with a search for the world’s No. 1 golfer — and ended with sirens blaring and an abrupt halt depositing an anxious McIlroy on the front steps of the Medinah Country Club.

“I was just doing my duty,” said Rollins, whose fast thinking and deft driving Sunday is being credited with getting tardy golf ace McIlroy to the Medinah Club in time to snatch the cup from Team USA.

“The Ryder Cup was won on the golf course and not on the road,” chuckled Rollins.

“But I am getting a lot of ribbing for not driving to the wrong golf course or getting a flat tire,” Rollins told Sneed.

“But believe me, I would have done it for the American players if they had wound up being accidentally late like McIlroy.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Dee Lay - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 9:16 am:

    So this is a thing?

    I’m surprised no one blamed Obama yet.

  2. - 'Merica first - onion pick me - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 9:20 am:

    Funny things could trigger the loss of a TIF district or enterprise zone. Speaker Madigan should inquire about removing state tax receipts. Europe’s Ryder Cup win = Lombard’s loss. All kidding aside, ‘Merica first - Europe last!

  3. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 9:22 am:

    How can newspapers get it so wrong? Are they outsourcing all editing to India now?

    Sneed got it right, for crying out loud, and it was on the front page of the Sun-Times yesterday.

    The copper did his hosting job well and deserves an attaboy, not a bunch of moaning from poor losers.

    Friends who went said Medinah was electric, 40,000 spectators on the course. It’s a huge plus for the area for future big money U.S. Opens and PGA Championships. They’ll be back.

  4. - Sunshine - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 9:34 am:

    Good for Lombard Deputy Police Chief Patrick Rollins. He did the right thing for our guest, just as he would have done for anyone.

    Maybe it was Bush’s fault, but it was the right thing to do.

    Atta boy Patrick!

  5. - Concerned Observer - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 9:38 am:

    I’ve known Les a long time — I’m pretty sure he’s joking here. Granted, I haven’t seen him in five years or so, so maybe he’s changed, but I don’t think so.

    Also — I’m not doubting Sneed’s reporting or anything, but if Les was watching on TV like me and the rest of the world, he saw a state police car pull into Medinah, not a Lombard car. So either the Lombard cop was using the ISP car, or there was an ISP officer involved, and anyway, who cares?

  6. - Concerned Observer - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 9:40 am:

    BTW, Deadspin had the video of McIlroy arriving (which I caught live). That’s an ISP car behind Steve Sands.

  7. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 9:43 am:

    ==That’s an ISP car behind Steve Sands.===

    Doesn’t really prove anything.

  8. - Concerned Observer - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 9:48 am:

    I would think it proves where he got the basis of his column, Rich, rightly or wrongly.

    Doesn’t mean it’s not a poor column, or a poor attempt at humor, but it does show he wasn’t just making something up.

  9. - Joe Bidenopoulous - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 9:50 am:

    ==just as he would have done for anyone.==

    Bull. So he’s going to give me a police escort the next time I’m late for something? Really?

    The aggrandizing of sports figures is ridiculous and quite frankly, shameful. And I say that as an avid sports fan who devotes way too much time to participating and watching sports.

    Police escorts for sports teams and sports figures display misguided priorities and are an incredible (if not terribly expensive) waste of tax resources. It conflates the importance of what they do, which is really meaningless, and makes them preferred members of society. Are they? Is that really how they should be treated??

  10. - Dirty Red - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 9:51 am:

    The fact that we can’t tell if he’s joking or not is a dead giveaway that it’s a bad column.

  11. - nieva - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 9:54 am:

    If you can’t win fair and square then you don’t need to win. I got to ask did he not have a PR person that should of known we have time zones in this country?

  12. - Joe Bidenopoulous - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 10:01 am:

    Adding…Rory McIlroy plays a sport - a game, really - for a living and profits quite handsomely for it. Does that make him a preferred member of society? Does that entitle him to live above the masses - because he plays a game that some think is “important”? Do cardiovascular surgeons get police escorts too, or is what they do not important enough? Who gets to decide?

    I love Rory, he’s brought a lot to the game, and I don’t begrudge him for any perks he gets as a result. My anger is directed at “law enforcement” and a societal structure that somehow makes golf (or basketball or football or whatever) more important than the things everyday people do to make this a better world.

    And don’t even get me started on politician’s security details - most never have a need. They exist to inflate their importance as well.

  13. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 10:03 am:

    –Police escorts for sports teams and sports figures display misguided priorities and are an incredible (if not terribly expensive) waste of tax resources.–

    C’mon, man. Do you know what a cash-cow the Ryder Cup was for the Western Suburbs?

    You’d give all the golfers a piggy-back-ride to Medinah to bring in that kind of business and tax revenue.

  14. - wishbone - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 10:04 am:

    “The fact that we can’t tell if he’s joking or not is a dead giveaway that it’s a bad column.”

    Actually it is the opposite.

  15. - Anonymice - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 10:04 am:

    Can we blame the Speaker, then? Pleaseohpleaseohplease?

    As long as no one was endangered, good for Rollins.

  16. - Irish - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 10:10 am:

    OMG it’s a golf game! Bottomline the USA choked. They were up and they thought it was a walk.

    Maybe the goat left the Cell and wandered out to Medinah.

    Da Bears better look out he’s headed to Soldier Field next. LoL

  17. - Been There - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 10:11 am:

    I was there on Sunday and it was pretty funny when Rory walked up to the green we were around everyone started chanting “CENTRAL TIME, CENTRAL TIME”. When he left the green the chant turned to “WAKE UP CALL, WAKE UP CALL”. He seemed to think it was funny also.

    I don’t blame the cop at all. If you are going to be considered the best you should be able to beat the best. Traffic was a mess around there starting early in the morning. I am sure every player (US and Europe) was directed somehow around the mess. They might not have gotten a ride in a cruiser but cops directing traffic or guarding them were in use for all the players.

  18. - the Patriot - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 10:15 am:

    London blocked off entire lanes for the Olympic Athletes. Something tells me the state came out ok with the economic and tax income made from the event. Do we really want to win an event because a cop with apparently nothing else to do said your own your own.

  19. - Joe Bidenopoulous - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 10:20 am:

    ==Do you know what a cash-cow the Ryder Cup was for the Western Suburbs? ==

    Irrelevant - that money is made whether a golfer gets a police escort or not.

  20. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 10:22 am:

    ===Irrelevant - that money is made whether a golfer gets a police escort or not. ===

    This time, yes. Not next time, however.

  21. - Ucster - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 10:37 am:

    12:25 pm EST is 11:25 am CST - where was this guy coming from?

  22. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 10:38 am:

    Does anyone in politics care about golf besides Leader Cross?

  23. - Darienite - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 10:40 am:

    So has Mr. Winkler issued a retraction and apology to the Guv?

    FYI, the 2003 US Open was held at Olympia Fields. Due to 9/11, security was SIGNIFICANTLY amped. However Cook County sent a bill to the USGA for the trooper costs. While the US Amateur is scheduled for 2015 at Olympia Fields, no other tournaments are being awarded in the Chicago area.

    Just curious, do the Sox, Cubs, Bears and Illini pay the respective enforcement agencies for their presence for security and traffic control?

  24. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 10:47 am:

    Dear Rich Miller,


    Golf on Capitolfax. Appreciate your coverage.


    Tom Cross (R - Medinah Country Club)
    Minority Leader
    Illinois House of Representatives

  25. - Springfield Dan - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 10:48 am:

    The only people who did not do their jobs here were the people who swing the golf clubs. Rory for not knowing what time zone he was in the the American golfers for choking.

  26. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 10:53 am:

    Joe B, let’s try and stay off the Host Committee the next time one of these international cash cows is in play, please? For business’s sake?

  27. - I'm Just Saying - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 10:55 am:

    Every time an D1 NCAA FB Team comes into town or an NFL team they get a trooper escort, that is traditional across the leagues, should Illinois pull out of that too?

  28. - Commonsense in Illinois - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 11:07 am:


  29. - Cheryl44 - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 11:12 am:

    A lot of money was spent in Illinois that would have gone elsewhere. That’s all that really matters.

  30. - MikeMacD - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 11:19 am:

    I like to think that the thousands of spectators who took the time to show up and the international television viewing audience who tuned in to witness the competition, benefited from this ordinary act of hospitality.

  31. - L.S. - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 11:37 am:

    If the article is humor, it’s a Romney-bad delivery. And we really shouldn’t want to win that way. I wanted the White Sox to make the playoffs by winning, not because the Tigers forgot to show up to a game. And the crocidile tears about this “expensive” police escort. Please. Cops were working that day regardless, no one got hurt by Mcleroy making his tee time.

  32. - Give Me A Break - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 11:49 am:

    NBC showed a black SUV arriving with an ISP escort however, they did show not Rory getting out of the SUV. They later did show him in a CAR arriving so the backdrop of an ISP car was most likely not correct. And, there were two former POTUS at the event, the SUV with the ISP lead could have been one of them arriving.

  33. - Give Me A Break - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 11:52 am:

    Sorry, meant to say they DID NOT show him getting out of the SUV.

  34. - Been There - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 11:58 am:

    ===12:25 pm EST is 11:25 am CST - where was this guy coming from?===
    Ucster, he’s from Northern Ireland. But you would think that since he was here for over a week he would have caught on by then. As a matter of fact what was he thinking by planning to get to the course only an hour earlier than he did. You would think he would be on the range and putting green for a couple of hours. My guess is he thought all was lost and he went out on the town the night before.

  35. - Strobby - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 12:53 pm:

    Let’s blame Soy Boy anyway, some how it’s got to be his fault.

  36. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 1:40 pm:

    I saw the video of him arriving, and he was clearly in an unmarked, plain plated, blue Crown Vic.
    The guy from the Southern Illinoisan owes the ISP an apology.

  37. - LINK - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 2:08 pm:

    Rich et al,

    Just so we are all Fair and “Accurate”, it’s Les Winkeler not Les Winkler.

    Now back to the show.

  38. - Sunshine - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 3:24 pm:

    “I like to think that the thousands of spectators who took the time to show up and the international television viewing audience who tuned in to witness the competition, benefited from this ordinary act of hospitality.”

    Pretty much says it all. Keyword here is what makes this act so special, it was ‘ordinary’. Thats who we are. We help out, step up, and get involved for the benefit of our guests.

  39. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 6:24 pm:

    @Oswego Willy -

    I was wondering why it took you until almost 11 a.m., then I realized you were probably finishing up the back nine and waited to post until you were between rounds.

    When life hands you sand traps, make sand castles!

    With warmest personal regards,

    I remain


  40. - Nearly Normal - Wednesday, Oct 3, 12 @ 7:15 pm:

    Golf is a good walk spoiled. Mark Twain

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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