Rory Mcllroy ignored Patrick Reed at the Dubai Desert Classic (Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images)

The feud between leading golfers Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed escalated yesterday when the world number 1 admitted to rejecting his rival, who later accused the Northern Irishman of behaving like an “immature little kid”.

Reed approached McIlroy on Monday at the Dubai Desert Classic driving range but was knocked out by his rival, after which the American threw a golf tee at McIlroy.

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When asked what happened, McIlroy said, “I was sitting next to my bag and he came over to me and I was busy working and doing my exercises and I didn’t really feel like… I didn’t have a in need of.” recognize him.

“So I didn’t see any tea coming my way at all, but apparently that’s what happened.

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“And if the tables turned and I threw that T-shirt at him, I would expect a lawsuit.”

That was a reference to the legal action Reed has taken on multiple fronts since joining the controversial Saudi-funded LIV golf series. Reed is one of 13 players involved in an arbitration with the DP World Tour over penalties imposed for playing the first LIV event.

Patrick Reed said he wanted to wish Mcllroy a Happy New Year (Image: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

He has filed a lawsuit against Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, who the 32-year-old Reed says conspired with PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan to defame him. McIlroy would have been called as a witness.

McIlroy revealed: “I was summoned by his lawyer on Christmas Eve. So if you’re trying to have a good time with my family and someone shows up on your doorstep and delivers it, you’re clearly not going to take that well. I live in reality, I don’t know where he lives. If I were him, I wouldn’t expect a hello or a handshake.”

Reed defended his corner, saying “Because of the relationship I had with Rory, I went up to Harry and wished Harry (Diamond, McIlroy’s caddy) a happy new year and then to Rory.”

“Harry shook my hand and Rory looked down playing his trackman and decided to kind of ignore us.

“We all know where it comes from – being part of LIV. Since my t-shirts are Team Aces LIV t-shirts, I flashed one for him. It was quite a nice shot back.

Funny how a short clip led to me stabbing him and throwing a t-shirt at him.

Too bad, because we’ve always had a good relationship. But it’s one of those things: If you act like an immature little kid, you might as well be treated like a kid.”