Rory McIlroy said Wednesday that he “didn’t feel the need” to acknowledge Patrick Reed at the Dubai Desert Classic and that Reed’s lawyer had served him with a subpoena on Christmas Eve.
Reports emerged earlier in the week that McIlroy had ignored Reed when the former Masters champion and current LIV Golf member approached the McIlroy and that Reed had even thrown a tee in McIlroy's direction after he was rebuffed.
Wednesday, McIlroy was asked about his (lack of an) interaction with Reed and said he “can’t believe it’s actually turned into a story” while explaining why he wouldn’t want to have much to do with Reed.
“Patrick came up to say hello and I didn’t really want him to,” McIlroy said. “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. Obviously nothing — I can’t believe it’s actually turned into a story.”
Reed is currently in Dubai playing in the DP World Tour event in an attempt to earn Official World Golf Ranking points. LIV events are ineligible for OWGR points and golfers like Reed are playing events on what was formerly known as the European Tour to try to stay afloat in the rankings.
In addition to playing golf both in LIV and DP World Tour events, Reed has been busy being litigious as well. His defamation suit against the Golf Channel and its analysts was dismissed on Friday in a Florida district court.
According to the Guardian, it's "understood" that McIlroy was named as a witness as part of Reed's lawsuits and the reason why he was given a subpoena over the holidays.
“Yeah I was subpoenaed by his lawyer on Christmas Eve,” McIlroy said. “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.”
The event in Dubai is McIlroy’s first tournament of 2023 as he didn’t play in the season-opening Tournament of Champions in Hawaii. World No. 2 Jon Rahm won the Tournament of Champions and won the American Express last weekend and is also in the field for the Farmers Insurance Open beginning Wednesday. Rahm is exceptional at Torrey Pines and could take over the top spot in the world rankings from McIlroy with another win.
“Like we all know Jon is one of the best players in the world, whether there's a 1 beside his name or a 2 beside his name, it doesn't really matter," McIlroy said. "He's won four of his last six events. He's playing some of the best golf he's played in his career. He's not had a long career but all of his career, he's played consistently at a very, very high level.”