What do we know about Patrick Reed? First, he is an exceptional golfer who has won a major and eight other PGA tournaments. He has represented the U.S. on both the Ryder Cup and President’s Cup teams. He has arguably the best short game on tour. He is a fierce competitor who has a kind of bulldog tenacity to stay focused and perform in high tension situations. He is 30 years old, married, two children, born raised and currently lives in Texas, and has been on tour since 2011. Reed has also been accused of cheating at golf throughout his college and professional career, which he vociferously denies.
And now, another accusation at the Farmer’s Open this past weekend, which he won by five strokes. In the third round, as co-leader, he hit a wayward bunker shot on the 10th hole into tall rough near the green. After inspecting the lie he quickly picked up the ball without marking the original spot and called for a ruling before taking a drop. He claimed the ball had embedded on the fly without bouncing first, which, if true, would have been quite reasonable given the wet conditions after a heavy rain the night before. He then directed the rules official to feel the spot where the ball was supposedly embedded. The official confirmed he could feel the edges of the alleged hole which hadn’t been marked by Reed when he picked it up before the official arrived. Reed was given a free drop, without penalty, and proceeded to par the hole.
I had taped the event, and, in reviewing the original shot, it was clear that the ball did bounce once, perhaps a foot and a half in the air and then came to rest in the tall grass. Descending from that short height, I don’t believe the ball could have embedded. It would simply have nestled down deep in the grass, resulting in a horrendous lie.
I believe Reed sized up the situation very quickly, and picked up the ball almost immediately. In doing so, with his back to the camera, he may well have pushed the ball into the soft ground some creating a hole, just deep enough to have been considered embedded by the official. Given his background of cheating allegations, I believe Reed was fully capable of doing so. Since no one was close by to have witnessed the ball bouncing, Reed insisted it hadn’t bounced and so figured he had a good chance of getting away with his rouse. And it worked. No tears. No tangles. Only a lot of suspicious competitors claiming “There he goes again.”
As I’ve said before in this blog, I believe Reed is an obvious cheat and should actually be banned from the game for life. Professional golf, if nothing else, is a sport of honor, of self policing, that requires impeccable honesty and courage in making sure one is not improving one’s lie improperly and consciously. In this case, I believe that is exactly what Reed did, and, so, has besmirched the honor and integrity of the game.
Can I prove it? Indirectly, I can. I’ve been playing the game long enough to know that on a clear day after hitting a relatively short iron out of a fairway bunker, you can clearly see a ball bounce when descending into heavy rough. Your eye is intently focused on that ball and the distance is not so far that one could not see the bounce. So, yes, I think Reed saw his ball bounce and settle into the heavy rough. When no one else, including officials or playing partners claimed they’d seen the ball bounce, he got the idea that he could safely say it didn’t bounce, and then concoct a story that would get him a free drop out of a lie that could potentially have cost him a stroke or two. That led to all subsequent actions which were part of the deceit.
It’s a pattern with this guy. The officials were, for some reason, enabling him, perhaps even coddling him, since he’s a contrary fellow with a temper. And when you enable a golf cheat, he or she will continue cheating, each time perhaps more toxic than the next. The stakes are high in this game on professional levels. Careers are on the line. Income is unstable. Expenses are out the window. Family pressures. These days with a limited schedule due to the pandemic, even more pressure, and without on-site fans as witnesses, the temptations to cheat are legion and, for some, way too tempting.
I know it sounds harsh, but, for the sake of the integrity of the game, Patrick Reed should be banned from competing on any level. He is a toxic influence on this great and hallowed game.