McIlroy almost missed the start of his match with Keegan Bradley after being confused by US time zones, with his phone listing his start time as 12.25pm. However, that referred to eastern standard time, which is 11.25am central time.
He was still at the team hotel when he got a phonecall telling him he had 25 minutes to get to the first tee.
He was bailed out by state trooper Pat Rollins, who radioed ahead to ensure intersections were cleared in a dash across the Chicago suburbs.
McIlroy made it in time to take a couple of practice swings before he overcame Bradley as part of Europe’s dramatic comeback from 10-6 down to retain the trophy.
The world No 1 has spoken of his gratitude to Rollins and a picture on his Twitter account showed he had taken the chance to say thank you in person.
McIlroy tweeted: “Me with my chauffeur who drove me to the course yesterday!! #betterlate-thannever”, along with a picture of the golfer with his arm around Rollins.
Rollins has received some ribbing for his contribution towards the USA’s defeat. “They jokingly said if I hadn’t, the USA would have won the Ryder Cup. But the Ryder Cup should be settled on the course, not in traffic,” he said.
“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.
“I’m a big golf fan and I knew who he was. It was a great event.”
Emergency services at Shannon Airport were on hand yesterday to meet an American Airlines flight forced to make a second emergency landing en route from Chicago.
Flight AA98 had been bound from Chicago to London Heathrow having set out from O’Hare Airport at 9.45pm local time. The Boeing 777 was fully booked, with many onboard returning home from watching Europe win the Ryder Cup on Sunday.
Early into the flight a passenger was taken ill with cabin crew requesting aid from any medical personnel onboard. As a passenger attended the man, the plane diverted to make an emergency landing in Newfoundland so the man could be taken to hospital.
About two hours and 45 minutes after taking off, the 777 touched down at Stephenville Airport on the west coast of the Canadian island province.
With the ailing passenger removed and the plane refuelled, the flight resumed after two hours on the tarmac, only for the pilot to make an another announcement 35 minutes off the Irish coast that another emergency landing would be necessary, this time at Shannon, after an electrical “smell” had been reported.
As the plane touched down in Ireland at 1.20pm, it was met on the runway by eight fire engines.
Over 200 passengers were forced to overnight in Shannon before continuing to London this morning.
— Simon Lewis