Rory McIlroy says Patrick Reed isn’t “living in reality” after the American tried to chat with him in Dubai despite his lawyers serving a summons on the world’s number one on Christmas Eve.
McIlroy admitted to ignoring Reed on the range for the Dubai Desert Classic.
Reed, 32, says he threw a tee at McIlroy because “if you’re going to act like an immature little kid, you might as well be treated like a kid.”
“Patrick came over to say hello. I didn’t really want him to,” McIlroy, 33, said.
McIlroy, who is preparing for his first tournament of the year, added: “I didn’t see a tee. I didn’t feel a tee.
“Obviously someone else saw that. But it’s definitely a storm in a teacup. I can’t believe it actually turned into a story.”
It’s the latest act in the deepening civil war between the new LIV Golf series and the DP World Tour and PGA Tour.
Reed, who beat McIlroy to win the Masters in 2018 and had an epic Ryder Cup match with in 2016, is now a member of Saudi-funded LIV Golf.
McIlroy, who is a player director on the tour’s Player Advisory Council, explained why he rejected Reed’s attempt to strike up a conversation.
“I was summoned by his lawyer on Christmas Eve,” says the Northern Irishman, who has been called as a witness in Reed’s defamation case against, among other things, the PGA Tour.
“So, trying to have a good time with my family and someone shows up at my doorstep and delivers that, you’re not going to take that well.
“I live in reality, I don’t know where he lives. If I were in his shoes I wouldn’t expect a hello or a handshake.”
Reed says the witness call was not initiated by him and that his LIV involvement is the reason McIlroy rejected him.
“We had some great fights and our friendship was pretty good until we got to LIV clearly,” said Reed, who is now ranked 90th in the world.
“I walked up to him and wished Harry (Diamond, McIlroy’s caddy) Happy New Year and then Rory because it’s the first time I’ve seen them.
“Harry shook my hand and Rory just looked down and was fiddling with his Trackman (device) and decided to ignore me. He saw me and he decided not to respond.
“We all know where it came from – being a part of LIV. Since my T-shirts are Team Aces LIV T-shirts, I shot him one. It was kind of a funny shot back. Funny how a little cutscene has changed in fact I stab him and throw a tee at him.”
McIlroy, who has been an outspoken critic of the breakaway LIV seriesalso believes life is getting harder for its Commissioner and CEO Greg Norman.
Three executives have left the LIV lineup in recent weeks and the four-time major champ said: “If the CEO doesn’t have an executive team, I don’t know how strong that is.
“I mean, he can’t do it himself. He has to rely on a team, just like we all rely on teams to do things.
“When you’re operating solo a little bit, it starts to get pretty hard.”
McIlroy called on Norman to “leave stage left” in November and said that “an adult in the room” was needed for peace negotiations between the PGA Tour and LIV to take place.
Both parties are involved in an antitrust case that will not be heard until January next year.
McIlroy’s comments about Norman were echoed by Tiger Woods, who said: “There is an opportunity if both organizations suspend their lawsuit.
‘That is the problem. There is no willingness to negotiate if there is a lawsuit against you. I think Greg should go first.’
Norman has subsequently labeled 15-time Grand Champion Woods as “mouthpiece of the PGA Tour”, adding: “Unfortunately he made a comment the facts of which he doesn’t know because I’m clearly still here.”
The two-time grand winner is now in sole charge of the LIV operation, following the departure of Majed Al-Sorour from his position as general manager of LIV Golf.
Al Sorour, CEO of the Gulf Saudi Federation, is an advisor to the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia and a director of Newcastle United.
The civil war that has plagued professional men’s golf for much of 2022 shows little sign of abating.
From February 6 to 10, a separate legal proceeding will take place in London between Europe-based DP World Tour and 13 LIV players.