Patrick Reed says Rory McIlroy saw him this time.
Two days after a short golf-range confrontation between the two that featured a brush off, a LIV Golf tee toss and countless comments and memes afterward, Reed said he met McIlroy again, early Thursday morning outside of a hotel near Emirates Golf Club, where they were playing the DP World Tour’s Dubai Desert Classic. This time, Reed told Irish Golfer, McIlroy was helpful.
Thursday play at the event had been delayed due to storms. But Reed told Irish Golfer that he did not see the notification, and Reed and his team left their hotel, where they saw McIlroy.
“So, I get myself ready, and then a while later, I’m standing out in front of the hotel with my caddy and my coach, and we’re saying, ‘Where’s the car?’” Reed told Irish Golfer.
“It’s now about 10 minutes late, and the next thing you know, Rory gets out of his courtesy car, as he’s also staying at the same hotel, and he says, ‘Hey, just to let you know, we’re not playing, as they’ve suspended the start of play.’ He’s also saying, ‘We’re off the golf course, buddy. We’re off the golf course,’
“So, I say, ‘OK, thanks for that,’ and head back to my room and go back to bed. Though I’m not sure if Rory was acknowledging me, my coach, my caddy or all three of us, but whatever, I’ll take it as a small victory.”
So there will be no hotelgate or notificationgate, though there is a teegate.
On Tuesday, on the Emirates range, Reed walked up to McIlroy, caddie Harry Diamond and coach Michael Bannon. That alone may have made you take notice; we would learn later that day that McIlroy had been subpoenaed — on Christmas Eve — by Reed’s lawyer in his lawsuit against the PGA Tour, where McIlroy plays his golf
Then Reed and Diamond shook hands. Then Reed motioned toward McIlroy. Then McIlroy didn’t appear to notice. Then Reed started to walk away. Then Reed turned around and tossed a tee with the name of a team in LIV Golf, which is involved in its own legal situation, with the Tour.
And a day later, a video of it all surfaced online, you probably watched it, and McIlroy was asked about it in his pre-tournament press conference.
“There’s been suggestions that Patrick Reed wasn’t very happy yesterday that you declined to acknowledge his attempt to shake your hand. Can you tell us exactly what happened?”
“I didn’t see it,” 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.”
“You didn’t duck then, Rory?”
“I didn’t duck?”
“You didn’t feel the need to duck?”
“I didn’t see, it, no. My back was turned to him.”
“Just without moving the point, a guy who has landed you with a subpoena, do you think he’s probably not entitled to expect you to greet him with open arms?”
“I mean, exactly, right,” McIlroy said. “Like that’s — I mean, I got a subpoena on Christmas Eve. I mean, I don’t see your — like you can’t pretend like nothing’s happening, right. I think that’s the thing. Like why — we are living in reality here. He’s — no, so …”
“Sorry to take this subject with Patrick on the range yesterday a bit further, but Patrick Reed said to you, he shook hands with Harry, wishing him a happy new year, put his hand out to wish you a happy new year, in a goal, sort of approach, to try and mend bridges. There was no tee throwing. He just turned his back, had a tee from his pocket and threw it down in disgust, as probably anyone would do when you approach someone and don’t get an answer. Can you see yourself maybe one day mending those bridges with Patrick — not at the moment, but he said he was trying to make an effort.”
McIlroy did not answer. On the transcript, his reaction was described this way: “incredulous facial expression.”
And then they eventually played golf.
After the storm delay, Reed played 16 holes and was at four-under when play was stopped due to darkness. McIlroy was at two-under through 15 holes.
“Honestly, you are all blowing up this so-called ‘teegate’ way bigger than it really is,” Reed told Golf Digest. “Once you get inside the ropes, you put the blinders on and go play golf. I don’t really feel like I did anything wrong on the range. Rory could have said hi, but he chose not to. That’s really the only thing. He didn’t attack me. He didn’t do anything. He just decided not to respond. That’s his choice. At the end of the day, it is nothing. I’m already over it. I was over it when it happened. I’m pretty sure he was over it right after it happened as well.
“It’s hilarious; it is funny,” Reed added. “It just shows you how immature some people can be and how funny some people can be. Some of the stuff that has been posted and said has been hilarious, the memes and things on social media. It is creative. At the same time, I am never for taking shots at somebody without doing it to their face. I think it is cowardly to do that on social media or in writing. If you have something bad to say, or want to make fun of somebody, do it to their face. If you can’t do that, there is no point doing it at all.”