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Who got tardy Rory McIlroy to Medinah? Lombard’s deputy chief

Golf superstar Rory McIlroy Lombard Deputy Police Chief Patrick Rollins.

Golf superstar Rory McIlroy and Lombard Deputy Police Chief Patrick Rollins.

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Updated: October 2, 2012 11:18AM

Divot dirt...

So who’s the mystery cop who saved golf superstar Rory McIlroy from a big hole Sunday and tossed the Ryder Cup into Europe’s golf bag?

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.”

The McIlroy saga reads like a “follow that cab” scene from a Mickey Spillane novel.

Europe was trailing 10-6 going into Sunday’s matches. Victory seemed impossible.

Thinking that his match started at 12:25 p.m., McIlroy was still at the team’s Westin hotel in Lombard when Rollins started making inquiries about McIlroy’s location at about 10:35 a.m.

“We have a point person who has been coordinating the Lombard side of things, and all the players had left the hotel and no one had seen Rory,” said Rollins.

“Typically drivers have courtesy vehicles, but no one remembered McIlroy getting into a car. We checked the golf course, the putting green and the clubhouse, but he wasn’t there.”

Meanwhile, McIlroy was casually strolling out of the hotel when he got a panicked phone call saying he had 25 minutes to make it to the tee.

“I read the tee times on my phone and they are obviously on Eastern time, and it’s Central time here,” said McIlroy, who had reportedly been watching the Golf Channel on television.

Exiting the hotel, McIlroy jumped into the front seat of an unmarked squad car. Rollins was at the wheel.

“He looked stunned, anxious and looked like a lot was going through his mind like I would have been,” said Rollins. “So I asked him if he’d be okay with me driving because of the possibility of motion sickness.”

McIlroy said: “No, just get me there. Get me there.”

Quoth Rollins: “He was very composed, but I kept reassuring him we’d get to the course on time. I believe it was 11 a.m. when he got in the car and we must have gotten to the club in 30 minutes. It’s hard to gauge.”

Rollins radioed ahead to traffic posts, used his sirens to bust-up traffic at one juncture and got McIlroy to the golf course in the nick of time.

The rest is history.

The Kennedy Corner...

The Irish Brigade: Gov. Pat Quinn and former Mayor Richard Daley will be among the guests joining Kennedy matriarch Ethel Kennedy, wife of the late U.S. Sen. Bobby Kennedy—and their children Chris and Rory—to view the Chicago premiere showing of the HBO documentary “Ethel” next Tuesday, October 2nd at Venue Six10. Chris and Rory Kennedy will participate in a panel discussion following the screening of the film. Bill Kurtis will moderate the panel.


Actor Vince Vaughn spotted at LuxBar for breakfast on Sunday ... Condolences to former Merchandise Mart manager Thomas King, on the death of his beloved wife, Olympic figure skating champion Barbara Ann King. The Kings, who were once titans of Chicago’s social circuit, had been living in Florida ... Tuesday’s birthdays: Sting, 61; Don McLean, 67 and Donna Karan, 64.

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