[PHOTO: Pedro Salado]
Already in this new year, Rory McIlroy has called for a “global golf tour” and admitted that he was “too judgemental” towards players signing with LIV Golf. So is he back to being cool with all his fellow tour pros now? Not exactly.
McIlroy made it pretty clear he’s still got issues with at least two LIV defectors during his Wednesday press conference ahead of the 2024 Dubai Desert Classic. Let’s start with Patrick Reed, shall we?
If you recall, it was a year ago when “Tee Gate” rocked the golf world. OK, not really, but there was that viral video of Rory refusing to shake Patrick’s hand on the driving range – a month after Reed served Rory with a subpoena on Christmas Eve!
Apparent footage of the Rory Reed tee 'throwing' incident. Thoughts? pic.twitter.com/r35kjE6hO8
— Golf Tips Checker (@GolfTipsChecker) January 25, 2023
Now you remember. But you might not remember the two also crossed paths on the leaderboard that week with McIlroy prevailing by a shot over the American in a Monday finish that he was asked about on Wednesday.
Q. That Monday here last year was probably one of the most entertaining days of the golf year for all of us. What are your memories of that and what it meant and what it stood for and what you were involved in?
RORY McILROY: What I remember, I remember standing on the 10th tee and I think Patrick had just made eagle and I’m just like [dropping head], “Had to be him.”
“But it meant a lot to me,” added McIlroy, who is defending his title in Dubai this week after a crushing loss at the Dubai Invitational last Sunday. “I felt like I came through a bit of… not adversity, but I really just had to control my mind and my thoughts and my emotions on that back nine.”
Moments later, long-time Ryder Cup teammate Sergio Garcia was brought up. And McIlroy tossed some shade in the Spaniard’s direction as well.
Q. I noticed that Sergio in response to you talking about an IPL and cricket competition probably being a good thing; said they deserve to be more important than a month. Is it going to be difficult to get a scenario where everyone is going to be happy?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, Sergio feels he deserves a lot of things.
“Again, it’s trying to align interests,” McIlroy said of his comments that team golf could be part of golf’s schedule, “as I said to Sean, and I think right now it’s just very, very hard to align everyone’s interests in the game.”
Indeed, it is, Rory. But it’s not hard to see there’s still some bad blood between some of the players after a crazy couple of years.