Hot on the tail of the recent announcement of Netflix’s fly-on-the-wall documentary, Full Swing, following the PGA Tour and LIV Golf defectors, world number one Rory McIlroy and 2018 Masters champion Patrick Reed have clashed at the DP World Tour’s Dubai Desert Classic.
On Tuesday, reports of a spat between the two emerged claiming Reed launched a tee at the Northern Irishman after McIlroy had blanked him when he was wishing him and his caddy a happy new year. Within 24 hours of the report, a video emerged of the incident on social media, garnering mixed reactions.
The pair have since both gone on to discuss the incident in their media duties with the Dubai Desert Classic resuming it’s planned schedule following sand storm-enforced cancellations to practice sessions.
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Speaking on the incident, McIlroy said, “I was down by my bag and he came up to me, and I was busy working and sort of doing my practice, and I didn’t really feel like - I didn’t feel the need to acknowledge him.”
“So I didn’t see a tee coming my direction at all, but apparently that’s what happened. And if roles were reversed and I’d have thrown that tee at him, I’d be expecting a lawsuit.”
"I didn't see a tee coming my direction at all, but apparently that's what happened. And if roles were reversed and I'd have of thrown that tee at him, I'd be expecting a lawsuit."
It wasn’t an unserious comment from the world number one either, as he revealed the reason for the snub later in his press conference, “I was subpoenaed by his lawyer on Christmas Eve. So trying to have a nice time with my family and someone shows up on your doorstep and delivers that, you're not going to take that well.
"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."
The relationship between the two always seemed like a healthy competitive rivalry up until this point but McIlroy, a player director on the PGA Tour’s Player Advisory Council, has drawn his line in the sand on where he stands with the golfers that have left for pastures new under the LIV Golf banner.
Reed responded back to McIlroy’s criticism in his own press conference, saying if he was going to “act like a child, then he’ll be treated like one.”
“I walked over and wished Harry (McIlroy’s caddie) happy new year and then Rory because it is the first time I have seen them,” Reed told the Daily Mail.
"Harry shook my hand and Rory just looked down there and was messing with his Trackman (ball-tracker) and decided to ignore me. He saw me and he decided not to react.
"We all know where it came from - being part of LIV. Since my tees are Team Aces LIV tees I flicked him one. It was kind of a funny shot back. Funny how a small little flick has turned into basically me stabbing him and throwing a tee at him."
Patrick Reed is also no stranger to controversy, having changed colleges due to a misdemeanour charge for underage drinking, criticising his Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk and colleague Jordan Spieth after a dramatic defeat in France as well as law infringements on the course. Famously, at the World Hero Challenge, he removed sand from behind his ball to improve his lie, causing quite a stir at the time.
*18+ | BeGambleAware