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Rory relieved to make match after mix-up

Ian Poulter may have been the key man in Europe's amazing Ryder Cup triumph in Chicago, but an unknown state trooper also had a major hand in the biggest last-day comeback in the event's history.

Trailing 10-6 going into yesterday's 12 singles matches, Europe needed a fast start to have any chance of victory, but Rory McIlroy found himself going a little faster than he bargained for simply to get to Medinah.

Thinking that his match with Keegan Bradley started at 12:25pm, McIlroy was still at the team hotel when he got a panicked phone call telling him he had 25 minutes to get to the first tee.

"I read the tee times on my phone and they are obviously on Eastern time and it's Central time here," the world number one explained. "I was just casually strolling out of my hotel room when I got a phone call saying you have 25 minutes.

"I have never been so worried driving to the course. Luckily there was a state trooper outside who gave me the escort, if not I would not have made it on time.

"I was like, 'Just get me there, get me there.' He was like, 'Do you have motion sickness?' I'm like, 'No, I don't care, just get me to that first tee."'

Two minutes late and he would have forfeited the opening hole against Keegan Bradley, five minutes late and he faced disqualification, but to the relief of every European he arrived in an unmarked car with 10 minutes to go.

Former captain Colin Montgomerie, whose side had the advantage of staying on site for their win at Celtic Manor in 2010, said: "That is absolutely ridiculous at this level. It's quite unbelievable for the world number one golfer. How this happened I do not know.

"Where is the captain? Where are the vice-captains? Where is his caddie?"

Fortunately for McIlroy, he is not a player who needs to spend hours on the range and after a quick warm-up on the putting green, he went out and beat Bradley -- who had won all three of his matches with Phil Mickelson -- 2&1 as Europe won the first five matches on the course.