“It’s been nice,” the top-ranked McIlroy said, “to try to take a little bit of time away, and try to sort of distance myself from the game of golf.”
Now he’s back and appears to be as fiery as ever.
McIlroy was on the driving range Tuesday at the Dubai Desert Classic when he was approached by Patrick Reed, one of the high-profile players to have joined the exodus to the Saudi-backed series that changed the face of golf in 2022.
“Patrick came up to say hello and I didn’t really want him to,” McIlroy said Wednesday.
It’s clear McIlroy is in no mood for reconciliation in Dubai.
“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,” McIlroy said.
The Associated Press has contacted Reed about McIlroy‘s comments regarding their interaction Tuesday.
McIlroy was later asked if it would be beneficial to “fix your relationship” with another LIV rebel, Sergio Garcia, if it would help Europe’s cause ahead of this year’s Ryder Cup.
“No,” was the Northern Irishman’s blunt response.
His last competitive tournament was the World Tour Championship, which was also in Dubai, in November.
In last year’s Dubai Desert Classic, McIlroy was in a share of the lead after 71 holes but bogeyed the par-5 No. 18 on Sunday after hitting his second shot into the water in front of the green. He finished a shot behind Viktor Hovland and Richard Bland, and Hovland wound up winning a playoff.
“Wasn’t quite the way I wanted to finish it off,” McIlroy said. “But you know, I went on from that week and played really well and had a great year.”
“I’ve been coming here for a long time, 17 years,” he said. “I’ve got a level of comfort here. I like starting my year here. I have a lot of friends. I called this place home for four years.”
Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC.