Rory McIlroy has insisted he reserves the right to ignore Patrick Reed on the driving range in Dubai after reports emerged that the American threw a tee at the world No.1 in disgust. McIlroy said he was served with court papers by Reed at his Florida home on Christmas Eve.
Reed approached Massilroy at the Dubai Desert Classic on Monday but was drawn blank by the Northern Irishman. McIlroy wasn’t aware of any further throwing but used his pre-tournament press conference to explain his stance on Reed.
“Patrick came to say hello and I didn’t want him to,” McIlroy said. “From memory it was then. I didn’t see T. I didn’t feel T. Obviously someone else saw it. But it’s definitely a storm in a teacup. I can’t believe it’s actually turned into history, it’s okay.
“I was called by the lawyer on Christmas Eve. Trying to spend quality time with my family and someone comes up on your doorstep and offers that, you can’t take that well.
“I’m living in reality, I don’t know where he lives. If I were in his shoes, I wouldn’t expect peace or a handshake.”
Reed filed a defamation lawsuit Golf Channel and commentator Brandon Chamble conspired with PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan to destroy his reputation. Reed now plays most of his golf on the Rebel LIV Tour. The 2018 Masters champion’s attorney, Larry Kleiman, has filed charges that McIlroy, Davis Love III and Tiger Woods are complicit in the PGA Tour’s antitrust scheme to destroy LIV.
McIlroy added: “I was next to my bag and he came to me. I was busy and doing my duty. I didn’t feel the need to acknowledge him.
“I didn’t see Tess coming my way, but that’s what happened. And if the roles had been reversed and I had thrown that whisper at him, I would have expected him to be sued.
Speaking after McIlroy, Reed said: “Being part of LIV, we all know where he’s coming from. My tees are Team Aces LIV tees so I threw one on. It was kind of funny back then. What a little bit of a flashback, how funny that I stabbed him and threw a tee at him.
“It’s sad because we always had a good relationship. But it’s one of those things, if you want to look like an immature little girl, you might as well be considered one.
This strange case from McIlroy’s 2010 He dominated the conversation at the start of his first season in 2023. Naturally, he talked about LIV after District Commissioner Greg Norman came to give him more power. After its first season ended in October, LIV was hit with two high-profile hits.
“I don’t know how strong the CEO is without the executive team,” McIlroy said. “He can’t do it himself. He has to rely on a team just as we all rely on a team to get things done. If you are working alone, it starts to get very difficult.
Last year, McIlroy was seen as a spokesperson for the traditional and informal golf tours as LIV tried to lure players to the Saudi Arabian Millions.
“There’s no point in being a mouthpiece if you can’t give that back by playing good golf and showing people the rewards you get if you’re playing well,” the 33-year-old said. “It is a merit-based system. That’s what you’re always fighting for: If a five-year-old boy or girl knows that they work hard and get results, they can make it in junior golf, amateur golf, all the way up to the professional level and to the highest levels of the game.
“It’s the stuff that went into the game that got in the way. It is not a merit-based system,” he said.
For Jon Rahm, two wins in as many PGA Tour tournaments have renewed discussion about the validity of golf’s ranking system. Rahm is currently world No. 3. Instead of igniting the controversy, McIlroy praised the Spaniard.
“We all know John is one of the best players in the world,” McIlroy said. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s one or two after the name. He has won four of his last six events. He is playing the best golf of his career. He didn’t have a long career, but throughout his career, he consistently played at an extremely high level. It’s a wonderful start to the year.