Patrick Reed is embroiled in another rules controversy after the American said that, despite TV suggesting otherwise, he was “100 per cent certain” it was his ball stuck in a tree in Dubai. His insistence allowed him a favorable fall and spared him a return to the tee.
Predictably, social media was quickly in turmoil after the incident in round three of the Dubai Desert Classic, during which Reed peered through binoculars into the branches and assured referees that he was sure it was his ball because of its distinctive markings.
The rules of golf state that if Reed had any doubt as to whether or not it was his ball, he should take a stroke-and-distance penalty and return to play at three from the tee. As it stood, Reed was allowed to take a one-stroke penalty next to the tree and escaped with a bogey five.
Reed birdied the 18th for 69 and a total of 11 under, tied for fourth, four behind leader Rory McIlroy going into Monday’s final round.
Reed and McIlroy have been embroiled in a crisis all week at the Emirates Golf Club, after McIlroy refused to recognize the LIV Golf rebel, whose lawyers served the world No. 1 with a court summons on Christmas Eve . Reed reacted to Rory’s snub by throwing a LIV-branded t-shirt at her feet.
As one prankster put it, Reed’s week went from “Teegate” to “Treegate.”
Asked by Telegraph Sport, Reed was unequivocal that it was his ball. “100%,” he said. “I would have gone back to the tee if I wasn’t 100 per cent…I was lucky we were able to look through the binoculars and you have to make sure it’s your ball and the way I mark my balls golf is that I always put an arrow at the end of my line, because the Pro VI the arrow at the end stops in front so you can see the arrow.
“And you could definitely see and identify the line with the arrow at the end, and the rules guy, thankfully, was there to reconfirm it and check it to make sure it was mine too.”
The Tour later released a statement explaining why the course decision had been ratified. “During the third round of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic, two referees on the course and several stewards identified that Patrick Reed’s ball had lodged in a specific tree after his tee shot on the 17th,” he said. he declares.
“The DP World Tour head referee joined the player in the area and asked him to identify his distinctive ball marks. Using binoculars, the head referee ensured that a ball bearing these marks had become lodged in the tree. The player subsequently made an unplayable penalty drop (Rule 19.2c) at the point directly under the ball on the ground. To clarify, the player was not asked to specify the tree but to identify his distinctive bullet marks to confirm that it was his ball.
Reed has apparently been cleared but, believe it, the case won’t die. Reed is no stranger to rule games. Three years ago he was penalized two strokes for deliberately enhancing his lie in a bunker – a charge he still denies. And in 2021, he was at the center of another social media storm when he picked up the ball to check if he was integrated, despite TV showing him advancing.
In both cases, he defended himself against the charges, swearing at the media and social media for singled him out.
The affair eclipsed McIlroy’s fine day, in which he birdied the front four and with three more successive birdies on the back nine, he took a four-shot advantage. However, he hit his second in the water on the par-five 18 to keep it interesting before the extra day forced by dramatic desert downpours in the first two rounds.
In 14 attempts, McIlroy is yet to win in his first start of the year, despite finishing in the top five on 12 occasions. “I would like to do something that I’ve never done before,” he said.