A close arrival didn't slow McIlroy down

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A close arrival didn't slow McIlroy down

MEDINAH The car carrying Rory McIlroy screeched to a halt at 11:14 a.m., and the worlds No. 1 player hurried to make his 11:25 tee time.

Apparently, the late arrival wasnt detrimental to McIlroys golf game.

McIlroy beat Keegan Bradley, 2 and 1, as Team USA was weathering a Europe comeback at the Ryder Cup on Sunday afternoon. McIlroys victory brought Europe to within one, 10-9, at the time. For McIlroy, who never trailed Bradley in their Sunday singles match, the rushed trip occurred after he scanned his tee time on his phone which had them listed in Eastern Standard Time.

I was just casually walking out of my hotel room and I got a phone call saying youve got 25 minutes until you tee off. Ive never been so worried driving to the golf course before, said McIlroy immediately after his victory. Luckily there was a state trooper outside who kind of gave me the escort to here, and if it wasnt for him I wouldnt have gotten here in time. So I just ran into the clubhouse, got my shoes on and picked it up on the first tee.

McIlroy said he was pretty calm as soon as he got to Medinah. He added his warmups arent ever too lengthy, anyway -- it was probably a really good thing I didnt have to think about it too much.

And for the most part, McIlroy played like a relaxed guy on Sunday. Team USA held a solid 10-6 lead entering Sundays singles matches. But Team Europe won the first four matches including McIlroys to tie it 10-10 with a handful of matches remaining.

Sundays loss was Bradleys first in this, his first Ryder Cup appearance. Bradley went 3-0 in the first two days of team competition, becoming the first Ryder rookie since Loren Roberts (1995) to do that in his first three team matches.

McIlroy said it was a little more special besting one of Team USAs finest this weekend.

When I got the matchup, I liked it, he said. I liked the idea of playing one of their strongest players, (and perhaps) go out there and put a point on the board early for the team. And I was able to do that.

The Kyle Schwarber reboot begins Monday in Iowa

The Kyle Schwarber reboot begins Monday in Iowa

MIAMI – This isn’t a Tommy La Stella situation. The Cubs purposely told Kyle Schwarber to take a few days off to decompress before reporting to Triple-A Iowa. The reboot will begin Monday in Des Moines.

“We’re doing it to hopefully reset him, get him back up with a fresh start,” manager Joe Maddon said. “As you would expect, he was very professional about it, understood it entirely.

“There’s no actual timetable. I don’t anticipate it to be long. But we’ll see how it plays out, give him a little bit of room to get things right and then move it forward from there.”

The Cubs broke the news to Schwarber after Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the San Diego Padres at Wrigley Field, where the entire lineup went 1-for-27 outside of rookie Ian Happ’s two-run homer. It left Schwarber hitting .171 with a .673 OPS, not enough to justify his 12 home runs and suspect outfield defense. The Iowa Cubs are in the middle of a four-game series this weekend in Round Rock, Texas.

The Cubs hope Schwarber can regain his confidence and almost become a trade-deadline addition, reenergizing the team the way he did in 2015, when he blasted 16 homers in 69 games and five more in the playoffs.

Under entirely different circumstances in 2012, future All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo used 70 games with Iowa to rework his swing and make adjustments after bombing his audition with the Padres.

“He’s going to go down and be able to exhale a little bit,” Rizzo said. “Hopefully, he can smooth things out. We’re all confident he will. Just do the best down there to get back up here and to be the Kyle Schwarber that we all know and love.”

Niklas Hjalmarsson reflects on time with Blackhawks: 'I had the best time in Chicago'

Niklas Hjalmarsson reflects on time with Blackhawks: 'I had the best time in Chicago'

Niklas Hjalmarsson heard some of the rumors, but not to a large degree. The former Blackhawks defenseman wasn’t spending a lot of time on the internet reading up on his potential fate. He figured he’d still stay put in Chicago.

“But when my agent called me about the 10-team list, I understood it was serious. Stan [Bowman] wouldn’t ask for that unless they made up their mind already,” Hjalmarsson said via conference call on Saturday. “That’s when it hit me that I’m probably not going to put the Hawks jersey on anymore.”

Indeed, Hjalmarsson’s next jersey will be that of the Arizona Coyotes, who acquired him in exchange for defenseman Connor Murphy on Friday. Hjalmarsson’s departure marks the end of the line for another Blackhawks core player, and this one is jarring in how it will change the team’s defense.

Speaking of change, Hjalmarsson faces a lot of it himself now. Sure, there’s the obvious change for a guy who’s played his entire career in one place. It’s new surroundings and a new team, on which he knows former Blackhawks teammate Antti Raanta and fellow countryman Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

But the Coyotes have dealt with a lot of upheaval lately. Goaltender Mike Smith is gone. So is veteran Shane Doan. On Thursday, head coach Dave Tippett and the Coyotes parted ways.

“They’re on a rebuild, a lot of new faces, lot of changes,” Hjalmarsson said. “It’s tough to know what to expect but I think they’re a hungry organization that wants to win like other teams. I’m looking forward to try to contribute with playing my game, just try to get the organization back in the playoffs.”

Hjalmarsson should find chemistry with Ekman-Larsson – the two were teammates in the Winter Olympics in Sochi – and Hjalmarsson will likely play a bigger role with the Coyotes. Arizona will probably look to Hjalmarsson a lot during its rebuild, given his Cup-winning history.

The first 24 hours were full of mixed emotions of Hjalmarsson. With his limited no-move clause, he was always a likely candidate to be moved from a Blackhawks team laden will full no-move clauses. He’s turning a page, but he won’t forget his time in Chicago anytime soon.

“I’m trying to always be a positive guy,” Hjalmarsson said. “I spent my whole 20s in Chicago, 10 unbelievable years. I didn’t think I’d win three Cups. Hopefully I can get one more before my career is over. I had the best time in Chicago, enjoyed every single year, playing in front of the best fans in the league. I’ve been spoiled. Now it’s time for me and my family to move on and seize the opportunity in Arizona and create some new fond memories.”