Rory McIlroy has said Patrick Reed is “not living in reality” after the American tried to chat with him in Dubai despite his lawyers serving the world number one with a court summons on Christmas Eve.
McIlroy admitted ignoring Reed on the pitch ahead of the Dubai Desert Classic.
Reed, 32, says he threw a tee at McIlroy because “if you’re going to act like a little immature kid, you might as well be treated like one.”
“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 this. But it’s definitely a storm in a teacup. I can’t believe it’s become history.”
It’s the latest act in golf’s increasingly turbulent 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 serves as player director on the tour’s Player Advisory Council, explained why he rejected Reed’s attempt to strike up a conversation.
“I was subpoenaed by his solicitor on Christmas Eve,” said the Northern Irishman, who was called as a witness in Reed’s defamation case against the PGA Tour, among others.
“So trying to have a good time with my family and have someone show up on your doorstep and deliver it to you, you’re not going to take it well.
“I live in reality, I don’t know where he lives. If I were him, I wouldn’t expect a hello or a handshake.”
Reed says the witness summons was not initiated by him and that his involvement with LIV is why McIlroy snubbed him.
“We had some great battles and our friendship was pretty good until obviously joining LIV,” said Reed, who is now ranked 90th in the world.
“I walked over and wished Harry (Diamond, McIlroy’s caddie) a happy new year and then Rory because it’s the first time I’ve seen them.
“Harry shook my hand and Rory just looked over there and was playing with his Trackman (device) and decided to ignore me. He saw me and he decided not to react.
“We all know where that came from – being part of LIV. Since my tees are Team Aces LIV tees, I gave him one. It was kind of a funny throwback. It’s funny how a little little movie turned into me stabbing him and throwing a t-shirt at him.”
McIlroy, who was a vocal critic of the separatist series LIValso feels that life is getting tougher for its commissioner and general manager Greg Norman.
Three executives have left LIV’s structure in recent weeks and the four-time major champion said: “If the GM doesn’t have a management team, I don’t know how strong it is.
“I mean, he can’t do it himself. He has to rely on a team, just like we all rely on teams to get things done.
“If you sort of work solo, it starts to get pretty difficult.”
McIlroy called on Norman to “come offstage to the left” in November, saying it needed “an adult in the room” for peace talks between the PGA Tour and LIV to take place.
Both sides are embroiled in an antitrust case that is not expected to be heard until January next year.
McIlroy’s comments about Norman were echoed by Tiger Woods, who said: “There is an opportunity there if the two organizations put their litigation on hold.
“That’s the problem. There’s no willingness to negotiate if you have a dispute against you. I think Greg has to go first.”
Norman later called the 15-time major champion Woods a “spokesman for the PGA Tour”, adding: “Unfortunately he made a comment the facts of which he doesn’t know because I’m obviously still here.”
The double big winner is now solely responsible for the LIV operation, following the departure of Majed Al-Sorour from his position as general manager of LIV Golf.
Al Sorour, CEO of the Saudi Golf Federation, is an advisor to the Saudi Public Investment Fund and a director of Newcastle United.
The civil war that has beset men’s professional golf for much of 2022 shows few signs of abating.
Separate legal proceedings involving Europe-based DP World Tour and 13 LIV players are due to take place in London from February 6-10.