How Patrick Reed’s tossed tee previews 2023’s LIV-PGA Tour battle

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Solely in golf does a quarter-ounce tee tossed on a driving vary rely as an act of wanton aggression. However then once more, solely in golf can somebody earn $35 million in a single 12 months for simply, properly … taking part in golf.

The temporary vacation ceasefire between golf’s warring households – PGA Tour gamers on one aspect, LIV Golf gamers on the opposite – is seemingly over, and the primary word within the latest verse of this very unusual tune aired on the driving vary on the Emirates Membership in Dubai. There, Patrick Reed – Workforce LIV, after all – approached Rory McIlroy, who has develop into the de facto face of the PGA Tour. McIlroy acted as if Reed didn’t even exist, and Reed, after a clumsy second, left the scene, tossing a tee in McIlroy’s direction as he left.

Right here, look ahead to your self. Reed greets McIlroy’s caddy whereas McIlroy himself takes a sudden intense curiosity in his Trackman:

There’s loads of backstory and frontstory right here, however first, a reminder of what these two as soon as shared.

Again in 2016, Reed and McIlroy had been the undisputed apex predators of their Ryder Cup groups, and for just a few superb holes of their singles match, they placed on a head-to-head present that was actually nearly as good as golf will get. McIlroy birdied 4 straight holes … and Reed was even higher than that. They poured in lengthy putts atop each other, they reveled within the gallery’s cheers, they regarded for all of the world like they’d personal golf collectively for the following decade.

Then, properly … issues bought sticky. Reed won the Masters in 2018; McIlroy teed off beside him within the remaining Sunday pairing however almost immediately shot himself out of contention. Reed saved ending up in headlines for all of the flawed causes, angering his fellow Ryder Cup teammates and running up hard against PGA Tour rules officials. McIlroy continued to play properly sufficient to win tournaments in virtually each single season … however stays caught on the identical variety of majors he had again throughout that well-known duel.

When LIV Golf bloomed from idle Nineteenth-hole hypothesis to full-on menace to the PGA Tour final 12 months, Reed was one of many earliest to leap to the breakaway tour. His attorneys have spent a lot of the following months filing defamation suits against a whole range of targets, from the Tour to tv commentators to golf journalists to … Rory McIlroy.

McIlroy acknowledged that Reed had served him with discover of a lawsuit on this previous Christmas Eve, which, as you may think, may put a damper on vacation celebrations. And that brings us proper as much as this week, and the driving vary drama.

Patrick Reed and Rory McIlroy, seen right here in an earlier event, aren’t precisely shut nowadays. (Michael Reaves/Getty Photos)

Golf Twitter has already subjected Reed’s Tee Toss to the total Zapruder movie remedy, and now each events have weighed in.

“Patrick got here as much as say howdy and I did not actually need him to,” McIlroy stated in a press convention afterward. “That was it. I did not see a tee. I did not really feel a tee. Clearly another person noticed that. I can not consider it is really became a narrative. It is nothing.”

Effectively, it’s and it isn’t. Extra on that in a second.

“He noticed me and he determined to not to not react,” Reed . “It is unlucky as a result of we have all the time had a great relationship … However it’s a kind of issues—if you are going to act like an immature little little one then you definitely would possibly as properly be handled like one.”

It’s unclear precisely what sort of response Reed thought he must get from a participant in opposition to whom he’s apparently pursuing energetic litigation.

Reed and McIlroy are teeing it up within the Hero Dubai Desert Traditional solely as a result of the DP World Tour (previously the European Tour) is allowing LIV gamers to compete. In any other case, McIlroy and Reed – and all the opposite PGA Tour and LIV gamers – will solely cross paths at majors. And it’s there, beginning at Augusta, that this ongoing feud will enter its subsequent section.

It’s extremely unlikely the Champions Dinner on the Masters will devolve into fistfights, however with a number of distinguished LIV gamers in attendance – together with Reed, Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson – alongside a few of the PGA Tour’s most staunch advocates, similar to Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus, the environment may get tense. (If Reed had actually needed to jab McIlroy, he may have identified that McIlroy gained’t be at attendance at that individual dinner.)

The query going ahead is whether or not hostilities will proceed, or whether or not the gamers on each excursions will proceed to, properly … stay and let LIV. Most gamers on each excursions would certainly favor to not take care of the complications that accompany each litigation and confrontation. However so long as aggressive varieties on each side proceed to fireside photographs by way of the media – and so long as critics of LIV proceed to query the breakaway tour’s Saudi funds – the 2 excursions gained’t merely coexist.

The LIV-PGA Tour battle is huge and complicated, nevertheless it’s additionally about damage emotions and perceived disrespect. How far will LIV go to proceed urgent its factors in opposition to the PGA Tour, and the way far will the PGA Tour go to stem the move of defections? The solutions to these questions will decide whether or not TeeGate is a preview or an outlier. In spite of everything, it’s a complete lot simpler to disregard a tee than a subpoena.

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Contact Jay Busbee at [email protected] or on Twitter at @jaybusbee.

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