McIlroy arrives just in time for Ryder tee-off

MEDINAH, Illinois Sun Sep 30, 2012 1:49pm EDT

1 of 2. Team Europe golfer Rory McIlroy arrives on the first tee after needing a police escort to arrive at the course in time for his first tee shot during the 39th Ryder Cup singles golf matches at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Illinois September 30, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Blake

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MEDINAH, Illinois (Reuters) - World number one Rory McIlroy arrived at Medinah by police escort barely 10 minutes before the tee time for his Ryder Cup singles match due to a mix-up over his starting time on Sunday.

The Northern Irishman told reporters he was confused by listings that showed his match against American Keegan Bradley was to start at 12:25 Eastern time, but McIlroy was unaware that the Chicago area is on Central time which is one hour earlier.

McIlroy hustled from the parking lot to the practice putting green and wolfed down an energy bar as he took some quick strokes with the flat stick before swinging a pair of clubs to loosen up before dashing to the tee.

First up on the tee, McIlroy hit his shot well right into the rough on a day when Europe need to win eight points from the 12 points available in the dozen singles matches in order to overcome a 10-6 deficit and retain the Cup.

"I didn't have this in mind," Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal told a TV interviewer. "We suddenly realized that Rory was not here and we finally got hold of him. He arrived by police escort and got here about 10 minutes before his tee time."

A relieved Olazabal said he told the world number one, "thanks for making it" and to go out there and win.

(Reporting by Larry Fine, Editing by Ed Osmond)

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