Something was always going to happen at the 2019 Presidents Cup as golf fans at Royal Melbourne Golf Club targeted controversial American Patrick Reed throughout the build-up and four days of competition.
It was almost inevitable that pantomime villain Reed would be hounded in Australia following the cheating storm that saw him land a two-shot penalty in the Hero World Challenge the previous week for improving his lie in a bunker.
Never the most popular on tour anyway, the partisan Australian crowds turned on the 2018 Masters champion and directed plenty of abuse his way including one who queried whether Reed had 14 clubs and a shovel in his bag.
It failed to draw any real reaction from Reed, as is the case for a golfer who takes abuse like it is isn’t even directed at him, during the opening day of play. But he did eventually react to the tirade, performing a shovelling action as he walked off one green during the second day of play.
Results weren’t forthcoming for Reed, however, as he lost on both occasions alongside Webb Simpson in Thursday’s fourballs and Friday’s foursomes.
It was after a third successive defeat, this time in the Saturday morning fourballs, where the real incident of the 2019 Presidents Cup came. As Reed left the course on a buggy, his caddie and brother-in-law Kessler Karain had had enough of the abuse of his employer.
The bagman took matters into his own hands, jumping off the buggy and getting involved in an altercation with a heckling fan. The action resulted in the PGA Tour suspending Karain from the remainder of the event as he missed Sunday’s singles.
So what really happened? Karain explained in a statement: “We have been known for having fun with some good banter, but after hearing several fans in Australia for three days some had taken it too far. I had had enough. And this gentlemen was one of them.
“Riding on the cart, guy was about three feet from Patrick and said ‘you f****** suck’. I got off the cart and shoved him, said a couple of things, probably a few expletives. Security came and I got back in the cart and left.
“I don’t think there’s one caddie I know that could blame me. Unless his bones break like Mr Glass, the most harm done was a little spilled beer, which I’m more than happy to reimburse him for.”
Reed went on to win his only point of the Presidents Cup in the singles courtesy of a 4&2 victory over CT Pan, and it proved crucial too as the United States came from behind to secure a 16-14 victory and make it eight victories in a row.
Tiger Woods, the playing-captain of the United States team who handed Reed a wildcard pick, branded the abuse of Reed over the top.
“Have people said things that have been over the top? Yes,” Woods said. “I’ve heard it. I’ve been in the groups playing when it has happened, and I’ve been inside the ropes as a captain witnessing it.”