Reed goes one shot off lead in Dubai after McIlroy spat

Patrick Reed makes light of his spat with Rory McIlroy by flicking a tee at reporters at the Dubai Desert Classic… before insisting ‘tee-gate’ was ‘really nothing’ but has been turned into an ‘assassination’

  • Rory McIlroy admitted to blanking Patrick Reed on the driving range in Dubai
  • Reed allegedly threw a tee at the world number one after being ignored 
  • The spat comes amid the controversy over the breakaway LIV golf series

Say what you like about Patrick Reed, and Rory McIlroy certainly does, but he has at least retained a sense of humour in the eye of the storm in a tee cup.

Two days on from flicking his Four Aces LIV peg at McIlroy, and 24 hours after describing the world No 1 as an ‘immature little child’ in these pages, the American offered up an amusing moment of self-parody following a mid-iron to the green at 15th.

Upon noticing a couple of reporters, he reached for the same brand of tee with which he caused such a flutter, before launching it at our feet. He departed with a broad grin and the world continues to turn.

Patrick Reed made light of his Rory McIlroy spat as he threw a tee towards reporters

If his demeanour and scores during the first round at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic are anything to go, that tiff with McIlroy has done little to throw the LIV rebel off his game.

At four under par through 16 holes, before bad light caused the suspension of play, he is only a single shot off the lead here. McIlroy, for those keen on the comparison, was two further back after 15 before his loop was interrupted ahead of Friday morning’s resumption.

The development of their respective fortunes has inevitably become the narrative of this DP World Tour event since McIlroy snubbed Reed on the driving range, sparking the retaliatory toss of a tee that lapped the planet via its fallout.

At four under par through 16 holes, Reed was one shot off the lead before bad light suspended play 

Rory McIlroy meanwhile is two shots behind after 15 holes before his loop was interrupted

By the morning of Thursday’s first round, lines of communication were seemingly on their way to being re-opened. That came about after a chance encounter between the pair outside their hotel, with Reed unaware that play had been suspended by six hours because of a different type of storm.

‘I’m standing out in front of the hotel with my caddy and my coach, and we’re saying, “Where’s the car?” Next thing Rory gets out of a courtesy car and says: “Hey, just to let you know we’re not playing as they’ve suspended the start of play.

‘Though I’m not sure if Rory was acknowledging me, my coach, my caddy or all three of us but I’ll take it as a small victory.

‘Honestly, what happened this week was really nothing but then it turned into the huge “tee-gate” with assassination on both sides.

‘You really have to learn how to handle days when there may be a lot of drama and days that are normal.’

Reed handled the late start with five birdies and a solitary bogey at 10. McIlroy’s day was a little less smooth – his first shot went into a puddle, but despite birdieing the hole he dropped shots in two of the next five to fall briefly to one over.

Footage shows Patrick Reed (second right) approaching Rory McIlroy (left) in Dubai

After McIlroy ignores the American, Reed turns back to throw one of his tees at the world No 1

With Jon Rahm playing this week on the PGA Tour and chasing his third win in three starts, and therefore close to usurping McIlroy at the top of the world rankings, the Northern Irishman recovered with three birdies. Thomas Pieters of Belgium leads at five under with three to play.

The spat between McIlroy and Reed is just the latest flashpoint in the great LIV row, with Sir Nick Faldo contributing on Thursday by saying those who join the breakaway series should never again be allowed to play or captain in the Ryder Cup. He told Sky Sports: ‘They shouldn’t be there because they’ve gone off and you’ve got to move on.

‘They’re done. It’s a rival tour. If you work for a company for 20 years and you then leave to go to a rival company, I can promise you your picture won’t still be on the wall.’

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