Patrick Reed is feeling optimistic about the future of professional golf. He uses his thrilling final-round showdown with Rory McIlroy at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic just a few weeks ago as an example that the current divide between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour/DP World Tour can be fixed sooner than we think.
Reed almost caught up to McIlroy, who ultimately clinched victory with a birdie on the 18th hole. The two golfers have faced off against each other before. One of their most memorable matches were at the 2016 Ryder Cup and in the final round of the 2018 Masters.
This time their duel seemed to have an extra edge due to the contrasting teams they now represent.
Reed expresses his hope that moments like these can bring golfers together and bridge the divide between the different factions in professional golf.
“It was great battling with Rory,” Reed told Golf Digest Thursday ahead of LIV Golf’s season-opening event at Mayakoba Resort.
“It was great battling with Rory,” Reed told Golf Digest Thursday.
“I’ve always had full respect for Rory. I’ve always loved the battles I’ve had against him. I’ve just watched the  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.”
Last month, an arbitration case was heard in London to decide whether the DP World Tour could fine or ban members who switched to LIV Golf. A ruling is expected soon, and the outcome could have significant implications for professional golf.
In the meantime, a prior ruling has put a hold on any sanctions, allowing golfers such as Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, and Patrick Reed to continue playing in DP World Tour events. If the judge sides with LIV again, it would mean that players from the rival circuit can continue participating in DP World Tour events.
Reed believes that this outcome could help ease tensions between the two sides. He also points to recent R&A and PGA of America announcements, which confirm that LIV Golfers will be eligible to play in all four majors. This is a positive step towards promoting unity and inclusivity in professional golf.
“I think you’re going start seeing over [the next] year, hopefully, everything’s able to kind of calm down and allow that to happen more often,” Reed said. “Not just on the European Tour, but who knows, maybe later on … you have more of these battles more frequently.”
This year at Masters at Augusta National, LIV Golfers and pro players from major tours will dine together at the prestigious Champions Dinner.
Six LIV golfers, including Patrick Reed, will have a seat at the table. Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, and Bubba Watson will also be there. It promises to be a night of great food, conversation, and camaraderie.
While some have speculated about potential tension between the different groups, Reed remains confident that all past champions will get along. He is looking forward to focusing on the upcoming competition.
“The thing is, the Champions Dinner has nothing to do with myself or any other person in that room except for Scottie Scheffler,” he said. “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.
As Patrick Reed prepares for the upcoming season with LIV Golf, he has set his sights on some lofty goals. He hopes for a first victory on the circuit and a second career major victory.