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Patrick Reed downplays tee incident with Rory McIlroy, not expecting drama at Masters Champions Dinner

If there’s going to be any drama at the Champions Dinner in April, it won’t be from Patrick Reed.

At least, so he says now.

Reed, who was at the center of a skirmish with Rory McIlroy last month in Dubai, insisted on Thursday ahead of LIV Golf’s season opener in Mexico that the annual winner’s dinner at The Masters will be solely focused on Scottie Scheffler.

“The thing is, the Champions Dinner has nothing to do with myself or any other person in that room except for Scottie Scheffler,” Reed told Golf Digest. “That’s his dinner. My experiences during those dinners have been amazing. We’re always talking about past experiences at Augusta, how the other guys have won the [Masters], what obstacles they had to overcome, the shots they pulled off in their experiences.

“Knowing the guys out here on LIV and also some of the older guys … that night and that dinner is all about Scottie and has nothing to do with where someone’s playing, what happened a week ago, what’s happening going forward. It’s all about that event. It is literally Scottie’s night and that’s how it’s always going to be.”

The answer was similar to what Tiger Woods said ahead of the Genesis Invitational last week.

“We as a whole need to honor Scottie [Scheffler]. Scottie’s the winner, it’s his dinner,” Woods said at Riviera Country Club. “So making sure that Scottie gets honored correctly but also realizing the nature of what has transpired and the people that have left, just where our situations are either legally, emotionally, there’s a lot there.”

American golfer Patrick Reed
Patrick Reed is in Mexico this week to kick off LIV Golf's second season. (Amer Hilabi/AFP/Getty Images)

While Reed’s comments on Thursday sound like he’s not holding any grudges, it’s easy to understand why fans may have been skeptical ahead of the first major championship of the year considering how things went between him and McIlroy at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic in January.

McIlroy ignored Reed ahead of that event on the driving range, and Reed allegedly threw a tee at McIlroy afterward. That came after McIlroy said he was subpoenaed by Reed’s lawyer on Christmas Eve.

“Patrick came up to say hello and I didn’t really want him to,” McIlroy said of the incident. “From my recollection, that was it. I didn’t see a tee. I didn’t feel a tee. Obviously someone else saw that. But it’s definitely a storm in a teacup … I was subpoenaed by his lawyer on Christmas Eve. So of course, trying to have a nice time with my family and someone shows up on your doorstep and delivers that, you’re not going to take that well.

“So again, I’m living in reality. I don’t know where he’s living. If I were in his shoes, I wouldn’t expect a hello or a handshake.”

Reed, however, insists he is fine with McIlroy — something Sergio Garcia can't say the same about. Reed downplayed the incident on Thursday at Mayaokba Resort.

“The thing about Dubai is it got blown out proportion, as if it was something horrible between two players when him and I were staying at the same hotel, and both times we saw each other [we said] ‘Hi, how you doing?’ It was normal,” Reed said, via Golf Digest. “Was there probably some gamesmanship? And probably some stuff going on because of a bunch of other stuff? Is there probably some gamesmanship?

“I've always had full respect for Rory. I've always loved the battles I've had against him. I've just watched the [2016] Ryder Cup highlights [recently] … they are insane. Same thing at Augusta [during Reed’s 2018 Masters victory] when I was playing with him on the Sunday … there's nothing better you want as a player trying to win your first major than it being against Rory McIlroy. He was also going for his career grand slam.”