By Sean Martin, Golfweek

MEDINAH, Ill. –- Rory McIlroy’s mistake almost left the Europeans without their best player as they began a historic comeback on the Ryder Cup’s final day. McIlroy needed a police escort to arrive at Medinah with 11 minutes to spare, but the lack of warm-up time didn’t impact his play. He beat Keegan Bradley, one of the United States’ strongest performers, 2 and 1, in the day’s third match.

McIlroy was watching a television program that displayed his singles tee time in Eastern time. Medinah is located in the Central time zone, though. He was scheduled to tee off at 11:25 a.m., not 12:25 p.m., as he saw on television. He was walking out of his hotel room when he received a phone call that he was set to tee off in 25 minutes. A police escort got him to the course with 11 minutes to spare, giving McIlroy time to change shoes and hit a few putts. ”Just your average sort of warm-up back at the course,” he said.

“I liked the idea of playing one of their strongest players and go out there a put a point on the board early for the team, and I was able to do that,” McIlroy said.

The crowd chanted “Glad you made it” and “Central time zone” when McIlroy arrived on the first tee. McIlroy made birdies on Nos. 4-6 to go 2 up, but Bradley squared the match after McIlroy’s bogey at the par-4 12th. Birdies at Nos. 14 and 15 returned McIlroy to 2 up, and he closed out the match with pars on his next two holes.

This isn’t the first time McIlroy has been tardy. He also overslept before his final round at the PGA Championship, and had to be awoken by his father. McIlroy arrived at the course just 30 minutes before teeing off but went on to win by eight shots.

Arriving at the golf course Sunday may have been a struggle. Playing was the easy part.

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  • Jim Furyk

    USA's Jim Furyk reacts after missing a putt on the 16th hole during a singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Players pour Champagne on Europe's Justin Rose as the celebrate after winning the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, Peter Hanson

    Europe's Sergio Garcia, left to right, Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose and Peter Hanson celebrate after winning the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • European fans are sprayed with Champagne as they celebrate winning the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Francesco Molinari

    Europe's Francesco Molinari celebrates after winning the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • European players celebrate after winning the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Sergio Garcia

    Europe's Sergio Garcia celebrates after winning the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Sergio Garcia

    Europe's Sergio Garcia throws his shoes to fans after winning the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Luke Donald

    Europe's Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald celebrate after winning the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Jose Maria Olazabal

    European team captain Jose Maria Olazabal celebrates after winning the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Jose Maria Olazabal

    European team captain Jose Maria Olazabal celebrates after winning the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • European players celebrate after winning the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • European fans celebrates after winning the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Luke Donald, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy

    Europe's Luke Donald, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy celebrate after winning the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson, Webb Simpson

    USA's Jim Furyk reacts as European players celebrate after winning the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. Next to Furyk are Phil Mickelson and Webb Simpson. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Paul Lawrie

    Europe's Paul Lawrie reacts after making a putt on the third hole during a singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Graeme McDowell

    Europe's Graeme McDowell reacts after missing a putt on the third hole during a singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Rory McIlroy

    Europe's Rory McIlroy hits out of a bunker on the seventh hole during a singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • Jason Dufner

    USA's Jason Dufner reacts after making a putt on the second hole during a singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Peter Hanson

    Europe's Peter Hanson hits out of a bunker on the third hole during a singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Nicolas Colsaerts

    Europe's Nicolas Colsaerts reacts after making a putt on the second hole during a singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Steve Stricker

    USA's Steve Stricker reacts after winning the second hole during a singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Keegan Bradley

    USA's Keegan Bradley reacts after making a birdie putt on the 11th hole during a singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • Tiger Woods

    USA's Tiger Woods hits a drive on the second hole during a singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Rory McIlroy

    Europe's Rory McIlroy makes his way to the first tee before a singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Jose Maria Olazabal

    European team captain Jose Maria Olazabal watches drives on the first tee during a singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Tiger Woods

    USA's Tiger Woods wipes his eyes after hitting out of a bunker on the second hole during a singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Tiger Woods

    USA's Tiger Woods hits a drive on the third hole during a singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Fred Couples, Darren Clarke

    Co-captains Fred Couples and Darren Clarke chat on the 11th hole during a singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • Paul Lawrie

    Europe's Paul Lawrie hits a drive on the ninth hole during a singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • The blimp flies near some skywriting during singles matches at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Phil Mickelson

    USA's Phil Mickelson reacts after making a birdie on the 11th hole during a singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • Webb Simpson

    USA's Webb Simpson reacts after missing a putt on the 12th hole during a singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Ian Poulter

    Europe's Ian Poulter reacts after making a putt on the 12th hole during a singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Luke Donald

    Europe's Luke Donald reacts after hitting out of a bunker on the 17th hole during a singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. The hole gave Donald a win in the match over USA's Bubba Watson. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Bubba Watson

    USA's Bubba Watson reacts after chipping in for a birdie on the 16th hole during a singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Phil Mickelson

    USA's Phil Mickelson reacts after missing a putt on the 13th hole during a singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Rory McIlroy

    Europe's Rory McIlroy hits out of a bunker on the 14th hole during a singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • Dustin Johnson

    USA's Dustin Johnson walks across the bridge on the 13th hole during a singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Keegan Bradley

    USA's Keegan Bradley reacts after missing a birdie putt on the 12th hole during a singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Keegan Bradley

    USA's Keegan Bradley reacts after missing a putt on the 16th hole during a singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Brandt Snedeker

    USA's Brandt Snedeker reacts after missing a putt on the 15th hole during a singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • Keegan Bradley, Rory McIlroy

    USA's Keegan Bradley congratulates Europe's Rory McIlroy after their singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Darren Clarke, Rory McIlroy

    Darren Clarke congratulates Europe's Rory McIlroy after winning his singles match against USA's Keegan Bradley at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Webb Simpson, Ian Poulter

    USA's Webb Simpson, right, congratulates Europe's Ian Poulter after their singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Ian Poulter

    Europe's Ian Poulter acknowledges the crowd after winning singles match against USA's Webb Simpson at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Ian Poulter

    Europe's Ian Poulter reacts after defeating USA's Webb Simpson during a singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Europe's Justin Rose reacts after defeating USA's Phil Mickelson on the 18th hole during a singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Justin Rose

    Europe's Justin Rose reacts after defeating USA's Phil Mickelson on the 18th hole during a singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Davis Love III, Dustin Johnson

    USA's captain Davis Love III congratulates Dustin Johnson after his singles match win over Europe's Nicolas Colsaerts at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Justin Rose

    Europe's Justin Rose reacts after defeating USA's Phil Mickelson on the 18th hole during a singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)