Some of the world’s best golfers are in Dubai this week for the Hero Dubai Desert Classic and there’s been plenty of headlines made already…although not about the actual golf.
Patrick Reed and Rory McIlroy have taken centre stage in the media, albeit for the wrong reasons, with the pair not exactly seeing eye to eye on the course.
The Sporting News breaks down exactly what’s happened so far and looks at just why it’s the big golf discussion right now.
MORE: Can LIV golf stars compete in the 2023 Masters at Augusta National?
What happened between Patrick Reed and Rory McIlroy in Dubai?
The big talking point that has seen this ‘beef’ blow up in recent days came after Reed attempted to shake hands with McIlroy during practice on Monday.
Luckily for golf fans, the incident was captured on video and shows Reed walking over to the Northern Irishman where he first shakes hands with the golfer’s caddie Harry Diamond.
Reed then puts his hand out to greet McIlroy but the latter remains crouched on the floor and doesn’t turn round to acknowledge him. After being given the cold shoulder, Reed walks away and tosses a golf tee in McIlroy’s direction.
So, how have we actually got to this point of playground antics?
Apparent footage of the Rory Reed tee ‘throwing’ incident. Thoughts? pic.twitter.com/r35kjE6hO8
— Golf Tips Checker (@GolfTipsChecker) January 25, 2023
Why is Patrick Reed suing Rory McIlroy?
Well, it all goes back to the recent creation of LIV Golf, the start-up tour that launched last year and is attempting to compete with the PGA Tour. It was commonly referred to as the “Saudi Golf League” during its early days given that it is financially backed by Saudi Arabia.
Reed is one of a host of players who has left the PGA Tour, along with Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson to join the LIV Golf tour, whereas the likes of world No.1 McIlroy and Tiger Woods have remained loyal to the former. So there’s already some animosity between the two sets of golfers which has continued to play out in recent months.
Last August, 11 LIV golfers filed a federal lawsuit against the PGA Tour after the latter suspended any defectors to the new Saudi-backed golf tour.
That group, which includes Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau, accused the PGA of “(harming) the careers and livelihoods of any golfers… who have the temerity to defy the Tour and play in tournaments sponsored by the new entrant. The Tour has done so in an intentional and relentless effort to crush nascent competition before it threatens the Tour’s monopoly.”
The Tour countersued LIV Golf, accusing them of interfering with the contracts of their players. Reed was not part of that 11 but is separately suing The Golf Channel and other media groups for defamation regarding coverage of his move to LIV Golf.
So where does McIlroy come into all of this? Well, the four-time major champion has revealed that on Christmas Eve of 2022, Reed served McIlroy a subpoena for him to appear in court, to testify for him.
Unsurprisingly, McIlroy didn’t take too kindly to his festive plans being ruined by that news and as a result seems to have chosen to give Reed the cold shoulder in Dubai.
Sure enough, here’s the affidavit of service confirming Rory McIlroy received a subpoena from Larry Klayman at 3:50 p.m. on Christmas Eve: pic.twitter.com/D4YmVFXgZy
— Dylan Dethier (@dylan_dethier) January 25, 2023
What is a subpoena?
A subpoena is a writ ordering someone to attend court. It is usually admitted by government agency, most often a court, to compel testimony by a witness.
In this case, the subpoenas are part of a civil lawsuit by lawyer Larry Klayman which claims that Florida residents who bought tickets to PGA Tour events, or would in future, were damaged by the PGA Tour allegedly weakening fields by suspending players who joined LIV.
MORE: Who is playing LIV Golf? Updated list of PGA Tour defectors includes Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, others
What has Rory McIlroy said about Patrick Reed?
McIlroy spoke to the media during a press conference on Wednesday and when he was initially asked what happened with Reed, his first answer was “nothing.” However, he later added a bit more clarification.
“Patrick came up to say hello and I didn’t really want him to,” he added. “From my recollection, that was it. 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’s actually turned into a story. Yeah, it’s nothing.”
He added a few more comments later on with more substance to how he’s really feeling, saying: “Yeah, I was subpoenaed by his lawyer on Christmas Eve.
“So of course, 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.
“So again, 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.
“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 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.”
Did Patrick Reed himself ask this question? pic.twitter.com/rdWTDOBSVG
— Rory Tracker (@RoryTrackr) January 25, 2023
What has Patrick Reed said about Rory McIlroy?
When Reed was asked about the ‘blanking’ on the practice tee, he seemed to suggest McIlroy’s problems came from his decision to join LIV Golf, rather than the Christmas Eve interruptions to the McIlroy family household.
Reed said: “Because of the relationship I’ve had with Rory — let’s be honest, we’ve had some great battles at Augusta and other tournaments and our friendships been pretty good up until obviously joining LIV — I walked over there and wished Harry (Diamond, McIlroy’s caddie) Happy New Year and then Rory because it is the first time I have seen them.
“[McIlroy] was messing with his Trackman and kind of decided to ignore us. We all know where it came from — being part of LIV.”
Explaining why he tossed his tee in his direction, Reed didn’t hold back.
“Since my tees are ‘Team Aces LIV’ tees I flicked him one,” Reed said. “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.
“But it is one of those things — if you’re going to act like an immature little child then you might as well be treated like one.”
Is there history between Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed?
Not really! The duo have battled it out against one another in both individual and team events over the years and have always had an amicable relationship on tour.
Most famously though, back in 2016 their epic Ryder Cup singles match at the Hazeltine National Golf Club prompted the pair to engage in plenty of fist pumps and shushes as they battled it out, but it was all fairly good-natured. Reed eventually birdied the 18th hole to win 1-up and put the US on course for victory over Europe.
The pair would again do battle going into the final day of action of the 2018 Masters but again Reed came out on top, winning the Green Jacket as McIlroy had to settle for tied fourth.