A raging war of words has erupted across Tee-Gate as Patrick Reed called Rory McIlroy an “immature little kid” after the world No. 1 admitted on Wednesday he had refused to let the LIV rebels at the Dubai’s driving range Acknowledging Desert Classic.
In a surreal twist on golf’s civil war, it emerged on Tuesday that Reed threw McIlroy a tee after his welcome was snubbed by the Northern Irishman, who has been the most outspoken critic of the LIV breakaway streak.
Far from retiring from the series, McIlroy revealed in his pre-tournament media duties that he ignored Reed over a subpoena he received on Christmas Eve from the American’s attorney, Larry Klayman, believed to be aimed at making McIlroy a Compulsory testimony Contents of a meeting between PGA Tour players in Delaware last year.
Rory McIlroy admitted to ignoring Patrick Reed on the Dubai Desert Classic driving range
Reed gave a scathing response by claiming the world number one was an “immature little kid.”
In comments that later drew a stinging reaction from Reed, McIlroy said, “I was downstairs by my bag and he came up to me.
“I was busy with my work and my practice and didn’t really feel the need to acknowledge him. I didn’t see a tee shot coming my way at all, but apparently that’s what happened.
“And if the roles were reversed and I threw that t-shirt at him, I would expect a lawsuit.”
The latest hoax may have been a match with a $750 million defamation lawsuit filed by Klayman on Reed’s behalf against Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee.
McIlroy said he blacked out Reed because of a subpoena from the American’s attorney
Pressing the driving range scenario, McIlroy added, “I mean, I got a summons on Christmas Eve. You can’t pretend it’s nothing, can you? I think that’s the thing. We live here in reality.”
As he approached the range later, Reed defended his corner. Giving a blow-by-blow account of the situation, he said: “Because of the relationship I had with Rory – let’s be honest, we’ve had some great fights in Augusta and other tournaments and our friendships have been pretty good until I obviously came to LIV – I walked over and wished Harry (Diamond, McIlroy’s caddy) a Happy New Year and then to Rory because it was my first time seeing her.
“Harry shook my hand and Rory just looked down and played around with his Trackman (device) and kind of decided to ignore us. We all know where it came from – being a part of LIV. Since my t-shirts are Team Aces LIV t-shirts, I slipped one to him. It was kind of a fun shot back. Funny how a little streak turned out to be basically me stabbing him and throwing him a t-shirt.’
Reed, a LIV golf rebel, had reportedly threw a tee at McIlroy after he was ignored on the range
McIlroy joked he would “expect a lawsuit” if he threw a shirt at Reed in Dubai
Reed, who said the subpoena to McIlroy “had nothing to do with me,” added, “He saw me and decided not to respond. It’s unfortunate.
“But it’s one of those things – if you want to behave like an immature little child, you might as well be treated like one.”
Reed and McIlroy have long had a compelling rivalry on the course.
The American defeated McIlroy in his finals pairing to win the 2018 Masters and defeated the four-time Major winners in a fiery singles match at the 2016 Ryder Cup.
Reed, who won the Masters in 2018, had a compelling rivalry with McIlroy
The American also defeated McIlroy in a fiery singles match at the 2016 Ryder Cup
At the mention of that Ryder Cup tie, Reed, who wears LIV brand clothing here, said, “I think he’s still bitter.”
On the prospect of pairing up with McIlroy in Dubai, Reed added: “That would be great. I’m going to tell you so much, there probably won’t be much talking. Even if I said hello the first time, he doesn’t say anything. I can be just respectful and as much of a gentleman as I can be. His choice if he doesn’t answer.’
The bizarre encounter takes place against the poisonous backdrop of the rugged gulf landscape. An arbitration hearing next month will determine whether LIV golfers can continue to compete in DP World Tour events like this while being barred from playing the PGA Tour in the US altogether.
The feud comes amid the ongoing controversy surrounding the breakaway LIV golf tour
McIlroy and Reed compete in the DP World Tour’s Dubai Desert Classic this week
The picture internal to LIV is no less clear, with their circuit’s second season set to begin next month, though they haven’t announced any new players just yet. World No. 44 Mito Pereira is set to cross and the Saudi-backed tour is believed to be pushing for Belgium’s Thomas Pieters.
This limited activity comes at a time when Greg Norman, CEO of LIV, has faced calls from McIlroy and Tiger Woods to leave if there is to be any chance of a working relationship between the traditional and new factions.
Norman’s position has theoretically been bolstered by a series of senior departures from LIV’s leadership, but McIlroy said: “I mean, if the CEO doesn’t have a leadership team, I don’t know how strong that is. He can’t do it himself.’