By Bernie McGuire in Dubai.
Patrick Reed is boasting he won a ‘small victory’ after he and Rory McIlroy were back talking again less than 24 hours after we learnt the full details of ‘Tee Gate’.
Reed was seen in video footage early this week gently tossing a golf tee in McIlroy’s direction after the visiting Texan sought to wish the World No. 1 a ‘Happy New Year’ but was snubbed by McIlroy.
What since transpired has been worldwide reporting that Reed had launched golf’s equivalent of WW3 but with the American, and despite McIlroy’s wish that Reed had not approached him, simply taking a tee from his pocket and tossing it to the ground as if to say .. “Well, here’s one of my Four Aces tees for you”.
This ahead of Reed’s debut in this week’s Hero Dubai Desert Classic with McIlroy a double champion on a very dampened host Emirates course.
Heavy rain late Wednesday afternoon and then more overnight rain forced DP World Tour officials to delay the start of play in the record-setting $US9m event to 1.35pm local time, a delay of six hours and 35 minutes.
However, the delay caught Reed totally off guard with his phone alarm going off at 5am local time but with the former Masters champ not able to get into his Tour app that indicated that the 7.30am start to play was delayed as the course, and particularly the bunkers, needed work.
Reed said: “My alarm went off at 5am but with the new app I did not see the messaging the Tour was sending out nor the alarm notification on the top of the app page
“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?’
“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: ‘Okay, 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.
“Honestly, what happened this week was really nothing and I know I was over it no more than 30 seconds later but then it turned into the huge ‘Tee Gate’ with assassination and attack on both sides.
“I know when you get to this level we are playing, no matter if it’s the PGA Tour, the European Tour or LIV Golf, it really doesn’t matter as you really have to learn how to handle days when there may be a lot of drama and days that are just normal.
“That’s why we do this as a living.”
When play did get underway, Reed was out in the fourth group from the 1st tee and McIlroy out in the four group from the 10th. It meant their paths meet-up a few times but none more so than when Reed was playing the ninth and McIlroy the 18th, where there is a double green in place.
“It was kind of strange because I played out here a few times at the DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah but then you never think of it raining out here,” Reed added.
“So, despite reading some of the headlines that I’ve read following what happened on Monday, it’s just laughable how such a small incident was blown out of all proportions.”
Reed had picked-up five birdies through 16 holes to be sharing second place, and one shot off the lead, when poor light halted play while McIlroy was at two-under after 15 holes.
Just 12 players or three groups managed to complete a full 18 holes, with the English trio of Matthew Jordan, Oliver Wilson and Daniel Gavins in the clubhouse on four-under.
The rain played havoc across Dubai that does not boast road drainage, causing widespread temporary flooding and chaos and with further heavy rain forecasted mid-evening Thursday, there could be further course damage.
- Full scoring HERE
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