Rory McIlroy has insisted he was within his rights to snub Patrick Reed at a Dubai driving course after reports emerged that the American threw his golf shirt at the world No. 1 in disgust. McIlroy revealed that he was given the court papers by Reed at his home in Florida on Christmas Eve.
Reid approached McIlroy on Monday in the Dubai Desert Classic but was nullified by the Northern Irishman. McIlroy was unaware of any subsequent purpose throwing but used his pre-tournament press conference to explain his attitude towards Reed.
“Patrick came over to say hello and I really didn’t want him to do that,” said McIlroy. “From my memory, that was it. I didn’t see the tee. I didn’t feel the tee. Obviously someone else saw that. But it sure is a storm in a teacup. I can’t believe it actually turned into a story, nothing.”
His lawyer called me on Christmas Eve. Trying to have a good time with my family and someone showing up at your doorstep and delivering that, you’re not going to take that well.
“I actually live, I don’t know where he lives. If I were in his place, I wouldn’t expect a welcome or a handshake.”
Reid has launched a defamation case against The Golf Channel and its analyst, Brundle Chamblee, who he alleges conspired with PGA Tour commissioner Guy Monahan to defame him. Reid now plays the majority of his golf on the rebel LIV tour. 2018 Masters champion Larry Kleiman’s attorney also alleged that McIlroy, Davis Love III and Tiger Woods were conspirators in the PGA Tour’s antitrust scheme to destroy the LIV.
McIlroy added, “I was next to my bag and he came up to me. I was busy working and kind of doing my business. I didn’t feel the need to acknowledge him.”
“I never saw a tee point in my direction, but apparently that’s what happened. And if the roles had been reversed and I’d have thrown that shirt at him, I would have expected a lawsuit.”
Being part of LIV, Reed said speaking after McIlroy: “We all know where it came from, being part of LIV. Since my tees are Team Aces LIV jerseys, I moved it all at once. It was kind of a funny reaction. It’s funny how that little flick turned out.” to stab him and throw a tee at him.
“It’s unfortunate because we’ve always had such a good relationship. But it’s one of those things, if you’re going to act like an immature little kid, you might get treated like that.”
This bizarre issue dominated discussion ahead of McIlroy’s first competitive start in 2023. Naturally, there was also chatter about LIV after it came to light that Circuit Commissioner Greg Norman is set to be given additional powers. LIV has been hurt by two notable resignations since its first season ended in October.
“If a CEO doesn’t have an executive team, I don’t know how powerful that can be,” McIlroy said. “He can’t do it on his own. He needs to rely on a team just like we all depend on teams to do things. If you kind of work solo, it starts to get really difficult.”
The past year has seen McIlroy emerge as the unofficial spokesperson for traditional golf tours, as LIV tries to impress players towards the millions from Saudi Arabia.
“There’s no point in being just a mouthpiece when you can’t support that by playing good golf and showing the rewards people here can get if they play well,” said the 33-year-old. “It’s a merit-based system. That’s the thing I’ve always struggled with: If a five-year-old boy or girl knows they work hard and score, there’s a merit-based system in golf all the way through junior golf, amateur golf , all the way to the professional level and they can reach the highest levels of the game.
“That’s the only thing that went into the game that disrupted that. It’s not a meritocratic system.”
Two wins in as many PGA Tour tournaments for Jon Rahm have reignited the debate over the validity of the golf rating system. Ram is currently number 3 in the world. Rather than stir up controversy, McIlroy heaped praise on the Spaniard.
“We all know John is one of the best players in the world,” McIlroy said. “Whether there’s one next to his name or two next to his name doesn’t really matter. He’s won four of his last six events. He’s playing some of the best golf he’s ever played in his career. He hasn’t had a long career but throughout his career he has played consistently to a very high standard It was a great start to the year.”
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