By Fatiha Betscher in Dubai.
Rory McIlroy says widely reported stories about Masters champ Patrick Reed allegedly hurling a tee at the current World No. 1 are nothing but a ‘storm in a tea cup’.
McIlroy was on the Emirates club range earlier this week and was bending down beside his golf bag when Reed walked over to wish both McIlroy and long-time caddy Harry Diamond a ‘happy new year’.
Diamond responded with a similar wish but when Reed reached out to McIlroy, the Irishman reacted as though Reed was not present.
And in stark contrast to what was first reported, Reed did not throw a tee at McIlroy.
Of course, McIlroy and Reed no longer see eye-to-eye and yes, Reed could have kept away but then his actions in wishing both McIlroy and Diamond a ‘happy new year’ reflect good on Reed.
McIlroy was always going to be asked the question when he attended the media centre after competing in the morning Pro-Am.
“Patrick came up to say ‘hello’ and I didn’t really want him to,” said McIlroy.
“From my recollection, that was it. I didn’t see a tee. My back was turned and I didn’t see anything. 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. Yeah, it’s nothing”.
McIlroy was asked by this journalist within the media centre if he understood Reed was seeking to mend bridges between the two but then, and for a first time in my 30-years reporting on men’s professional golf, he just stared blank and not saying a word.
McIlroy was not ‘short’ with this journalist as the representative of BBC Sport asked what was his reaction that it looks like there’s been sort of various bits of movement with LIV that has been portrayed as strengthening Greg Norman’s position in the top of that organisation.
Q – We all know what you said when you were back here in November. So, I just wonder if you have any reaction to that.
RORY McILROY: I mean, if the Chief Executive doesn’t have an executive team, I don’t know how strong that is.
Q – So if I could just follow up on that, do you see that as some kind of level of weakness?
RORY McILROY: Yeah.
Q – Because?
RORY McILROY: I mean, he can’t do it himself. He needs to rely on a team just like all of us rely on teams, right, to do things. You know, you operating in a silo, it starts to get pretty difficult.
And Alejandro from Ten Golf also was given a one-word reply when he pointed out to McIlroy news from a meeting Monday afternoon with European Tour CEO Keith Pelley revealing that Sergio Garcia, as an honorary member of the Tour, was eligible to be picked by Luke Donald in this year’s Ryder Cup team. Could McIlroy mend bridges with Sergio?
McIlroy’s reaction to the question was ‘No’.
Alejandro said: “No way?”
RORY McILROY: (Shaking head no.)