As one of the most outspoken critics of LIV golf’s breakaway league, Rory McIlroy He felt mentally drained at the end of last year and decided to kick his club out for a few weeks.
“It was great to try to take some time away, to kind of try to distance myself from golf,” said top-ranked McIlroy.
Now he’s back and he looks as fiery as ever.
McIlroy was in the driving range on Tuesday at the Dubai Desert Classic when he approached him Patrick Reedone of the leading players to join the exodus to Saudi-backed soap operas that are changing the face of golf in 2022.
McIlroy said he had been busy practicing and didn’t feel the need to admit to the post.
“Patrick came over to say hello, and I really didn’t want him to do that,” McIlroy said Wednesday.
McIlroy was asked about reports that the American had thrown his shirts at him. The four-time winner said he didn’t see or feel anything.
“But that’s clearly what happened,” McIlroy said. And if the roles had been reversed and I had thrown that shirt in his face, I would have expected him [to file] Issue.”
It was a mockery of McIlroy, who said he was given a subpoena by Reed’s attorney on Christmas Eve. He did not provide details about the subpoena, however Reid reinstated a defamation lawsuit last month.
McIlroy is clearly in no mood for reconciliation in Dubai.
“Of course, trying to have a good time with my family and someone showing up on your doorstep and delivering that, you’re not going to take that well,” McIlroy said.
“Again, I actually live, I don’t know where he lives. If I were him, I wouldn’t expect a welcome or a handshake.”
Reid said later on Wednesday that he shook Harry Diamond’s hand in McIlroy’s caddy and flicked his shirt at McIlroy.
“Rory just looked down and was messing with his Trackman and just kind of decided to ignore it,” Reed said. “We all knew where it came from—being part of LIV. Because my Tees are a team…  Aces LIV tees, I moved it once. It was kind of a funny reaction. Funny how a little peck turned out to stab him and throw a tee at him.
“He saw me, and decided not to fight back. It’s unfortunate because we’ve always had a good relationship. … But it’s one of those things, if you’re going to act like an immature little kid, you can and they’re treated as one.”
McIlroy was later asked if it would be helpful to “fix your relationship” with another LIV rebel, Sergio Garciaif he will help the cause of Europe before this year’s Ryder Cup.
The Northern Irishman’s blunt reply was “No”.
The toll McIlroy took on being effective as a spokesperson for LIV didn’t stop him from returning to the top of the world rankings at the end of last year.
His last competitive tournament was the World Tour Championships, also held in Dubai in November.
McIlroy said the break gave him the opportunity to “recharge, restart and try to start 2023 with renewed optimism,” and he’s back in the Middle East with some unfinished business.
in Dubai Desert Classic last yearMcIlroy was in a share of the lead after 71 holes but bogeyed the number 5 on Sunday after hitting his second putt in the water in front of the green. He finished with a shot from behind Victor Hovland And Richard Blandand Hovland ended up winning a playoff.
“It wasn’t quite the way I wanted it to end,” McIlroy said. “But you know, I went on that week and played really well and had a great year.”
McIlroy is a two-time winner of the event – in 2009, which was his first title as a professional at age 19, and in 2015 – and is enjoying coming to this part of the world.
“I’ve been coming here for a long time, 17 years,” he said. “I have a level of comfort here. I would love to start my year here. I have a lot of friends. I’ve called this place home for four years.”
Information from the Associated Press is used in this report.