Patrick Reed has been accused of being a cheat by fellow professionals after being caught up in a major storm at the Hero World Challenge.
Reed, a controversial character at the best of times, was seen moving sand in a bunker during a practice swing at Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas en route to finishing in third place behind winner Henrik Stenson.
Patrick Reed was handed a two-shot penalty after his rules violation during the third round, in which he improved his lie in a sandy waste area by flicking sand from behind his ball—not once, but twice—with practice swings.
Patrick Reed, courtesy of a final round 65, ultimately finished two shots behind Stenson in the event.
The 2018 Masters champion did not believe he had broken any rules, defending his actions when he said: “No, because at the end of the day I wasn’t intending to improve a lie or anything like that.
“Like I said, I didn’t feel like I was doing anything that was improving a lie, but then when you saw it on camera, because of that camera angle, they said that the sand was moving, and when the sand moves like that, it’s a penalty.”
Rules officials deemed that regardless of intent, Patrick Reed had improved his lie—after which footage emerged of the American do exactly the same thing during the Hero World Challenge in 2015.
It prompted a social media storm from golf fans and spectators, while some of Reed’s fellow professionals weighed in to call him a cheat, but Reed was non-flustered by the controversy he had caused.
“Honestly, I haven’t been paying attention on what’s been going on in the media,” he said. “You know, for me, it was just something that I’m going out there to play the best golf I can. After seeing it on camera and seeing sand move, obviously it’s a penalty. So at that point I had to accept it and move on.”
Australian Cameron Smith, who will come up again Reed in the 2019 Presidents Cup in Melbourne this week, was one of the biggest critics of his fellow PGA Tour star.
“If you make a mistake maybe once, you could maybe understand but to give a bit of a bulls**t response like the camera angle… that’s pretty up there,” he was quoted as saying.
“I don’t have any sympathy for anyone that cheats. I hope the (Presidents Cup) crowd absolutely gives it to not only him, but everyone (on the American team) next week.
“I know Pat pretty good and he’s always been nice to me, so I don’t want to say anything bad about him but anyone cheating the rules, I’m not up for that.”
European Tour star Anne Van Dam went a step further when she tweeted: “This is absolutely insane…this does not belong on any professional tour. DQ and banned from the tour if you ask me.”
Thomas Bjorn, meanwhile, shared a shocked face emoji in reply to the posting of the video of the incident on Twitter.
But arguably the best response came from Eddie Pepperell, notoriously funny with his Twitter ripostes. He wrote: “Taking Gus and Pip to the beach in a minute. Glad I brought my clubs up with me cause after seeing @PReedGolf last night I’m gonna get some practice in… What the f**k were you thinking?!”