Lightning strike at hotel nearly causes Mickelson to miss tee time
Golf star Phil Mickelson nearly missed his tee time for today's final round of the BMW Championship in Medinah after a lightning strike on the roof of the Eaglewood Resort & Spa left him without his clubs and running late.
"How's this for crazy? My hotel was struck by lighting, I was on top floor, we were evacuated and the place is on fire (only thing of mine on fire this week.)," Mickelson tweeted Sunday morning. "I can't get back into my room and may miss my tee time because I am without clubs and clothes."
An hour later, he tweeted, "EMT's were awesome! I'm going to make it. Turns out my clubs acted as a fire retardant. Lucky me."
He went on to shoot a 1 under par 71 in the tournament's final round, placing him in the bottom half of the leaderboard.
Mickelson later discussed the morning's events when speaking to the media at the end of his around, saying he left the resort after the evacuation then returned to find his way back in blocked.
"I was just thinking I'll be back in San Diego (where he lives) a little earlier than I expected and -- it all worked out. It was fine," he said.
"It all worked out great except my score," Mickelson added.
The eventful morning began about 8:40 a.m. when guests at the resort, 1401 Nordic Road in Itasca, reported a loud explosion, according to the The Bloomingdale Fire Protection District.
Firefighters arrived to find fire and smoke coming from the roof of the south tower and quickly extinguished the flames. Crews were on the scene for approximately one hour, officials said.
Hotel guests -- which included other golfers as well as spectators -- were evacuated while crews worked, but allowed back to their rooms when all hazards were secured, fire officials said. No injuries were reported.
Eric Bates, general manager for Eaglewood Resort & Spa, said the lightning strike blew apart a chimney at the resort.
"In that strike, there were flames in that chimney that were quickly extinguished, but the fire never entered the building at all," he said.
Bates said the evacuation was routine to make sure guests remained safe.
"We didn't even lose a room in the incident," he added. "It was really limited to that chimney on the roof."
The resort works with fire officials in Itasca and Bloomingdale and conducted a rooftop emergency drill in April.
"This exact thing is why we do those drills with our staff," he said.
As for Mickelson, Bates said the resort made some special arrangements to get into his room and retrieve his clubs and clothes.
"We probably cut him a little tighter than he would have liked, but again, out of the abundance of safety, we didn't want anybody back in that area at all," he said. "But we did get in there to help him get his clubs and get him back on his way."
It's not the first time suburban first responders have come to the rescue of a pro golfer in danger of missing his tee time at Medinah.
Back during the 2012 Ryder Cup, Rory McIlroy mixed up his schedule tee time -- believing it to be an hour later than it was -- and needed a speedy police escort to get him to the course before facing disqualification for being tardy. Sugar Grove Police Chief Pat Rollins, then deputy chief of the Lombard Police Department, was the hero that day, delivering McIlroy from the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center hotel to the golf course in time to tee off.