Rory Mcilroy and Patrick Reed in frosty confrontation at the Dubai Desert Classic

Rory Mcilroy and Patrick Reed in frosty confrontation at the Dubai Desert Classic

World number one, Rory Mcilroy, has escalated his feud with Patrick Reed after an awkward encounter on the practice range before the Dubai Desert Classic. 

Mcilroy, who is playing in his first event of the year in Dubai, was issued a court summons by Reed’s lawyers on Christmas Eve and this is the first time that the pair have been around each other since. 

Reed’s lawyer, Larry Klayman is suing the PGA Tour because he believes they are trying to destroy LIV Golf. Mcilroy has been dragged into the case as a “co-conspirator” because of his comments about the controversial tour over the past year. 

Mcilroy has been very vocal about his thoughts on the Saudi-backed tours and has made many controversial statements in relation to it. On one occasion, he said that he felt betrayed by European golfers who had joined the tour; on another, he said that he “hated” what the tour had done to golf. 

The incident in Dubai

Mcilroy’s disdain for players who have joined the breakaway tour is clearly still as strong as ever if his encounter with Patrick Reed in Dubai yesterday is anything to go by. Reed, one of the first players to defect to LIV, spotted Mcilroy on the practice range and decided to go over to say hello. 

The world number one decided to ignore Reed, who he has shared numerous Ryder Cup battles with, which appeared to infuriate the American. In response to being blanked, Reed appeared to throw a tee at the Irishman. Speaking about the incident, Mcilroy said:

“Patrick came up to say hello. I really didn’t want him to. I was subpoenaed by his lawyer on Christmas Eve – I was trying to have a nice time with my family and someone showed up on my doorstep with that. 

I’m living in reality, I don’t know where he’s living. If I were in his shoes, I wouldn’t expect a hello or a handshake.”

Reed’s response

Reed has denied any involvement with the subpoena that Mcilroy received and says that he believes the reason he was snubbed was purely because of his involvement with LIV Golf. The American said:

“We’ve had some great battles and our friendship has been pretty good up until I joined LIV. I walked over and wished him a happy new year. Harry (Mcilroy’s caddie) shook my hand but Rory just looked down and was messing with his trackman device and ignored me. 

He saw me and decided not to react. Since my tees are Team Aces LIV tees I flicked him one. It was kind of a funny shot back. It is one of those things – if you’re going to act like an immature child then you might as well be treated like one.”

With the tournament in Dubai now underway, both players have gotten off to a reasonable start and have put themselves in early contention. Patrick Reed has shot an opening round of 68 with Mcilroy carding a 70. Thomas Pieters currently holds the lead after a round of 67.

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