Pre-Tournament Spat between Reed and McIlroy Complicated by Antitrust Lawsuit and Flooding at Dubai Desert Classic

The pre-tournament build-up of the Dubai Desert Classic was dominated by a spat between Patrick Reed and Rory McIlroy, which emerged after Reed threw a tee towards McIlroy after being snubbed on the practice range.[0] When later approached on the range, Reed defended his corner, saying: “Because of the relationship I've had with Rory – let's be honest, we've had some great battles at Augusta and other tournaments and our friendships been pretty good up until obviously joining LIV – I walked over there and wished Harry (Diamond, McIlroy’s caddie) Happy New Year and then Rory because it is the first time I have seen them.”[1]

McIlroy later revealed in his pre-tournament media duties that he ignored Reed because of a subpoena he received on Christmas Eve from the American’s lawyer Larry Klayman, which is believed to be geared around compelling McIlroy to testify on the contents of a meeting between PGA Tour players in Delaware last year.[2]

McIlroy stated that if the situation had been reversed, and he had been the one to throw the tee, he would have anticipated a lawsuit.[3] Reed later commented on the interaction to reporters, saying: “Since my tees are Team Aces LIV tees I flicked him one. … He saw me and he decided not to react. But it is one of those things. If you're going to act like an immature little child, then you might as well be treated like one.”[1]

The situation was further complicated by a larger antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour, which Klayman has issued against the PGA Tour and which McIlroy, Davis Love III, and Tiger Woods were pulled into as “co-conspirators” in an antitrust scheme to destroy LIV, according to the lawsuit.[4]

Players were then informed in the early hours of Thursday morning that Emirates golf club was “inaccessible” and told not to travel to the course because several roads were flooded.[0] However, after a few hours of dry weather and a massive clean-up operation by ground staff, play got underway at 9.15am (GMT) but half the field was unable to get on the course at all and will start round one on Friday.[0]

0. “Dubai Desert Classic: Weather-affected opening sees only 12 players complete round one” BBC, 26 Jan. 2023,

1. “‘An Immature Little Child' – Patrick Reed Fires Back At Rory McIlroy” Golf Monthly, 25 Jan. 2023,

2. “Reed Calls McIlroy ‘Immature Little Child’ Over Tee Incident Reaction” Sports Illustrated, 25 Jan. 2023,

3. “Rory McIlroy Says He Received Subpoena from Patrick Reed's Lawyer on Christmas Eve” Bleacher Report, 25 Jan. 2023,

4. “23 questions about the Rory McIlroy-Patrick Reed feud, with 23 one-sentence answers”, 25 Jan. 2023,