Golfers of all skill levels are required to play under the honor system. This includes PGA Tour pro Patrick Reed, who has earned a reputation for being less than honorable.
Reed, the world No.11 player, opened up to further cheating accusations with what he did on the 10th hole at Torrey Pines on Saturday. He was able to improve his lie after an approach shot landed in a deep and wet rough. Rules official Brad Fabel agreed with Reed’s claim that his shot had sunk into the tall grass and allowed Reed to free fall.
Problem is, Reed prematurely picked up his ball, cleaned it up, and replaced it a few yards back before calling Fabel. The prevailing idea was that Reed should have marked his ball where he initially found it and then consulted with the official.
CBS live video showed the photo of Reed bouncing once, then tucked into the rough. Reed spoke with a tournament volunteer as he approached the ball in the rough; she said she didn’t see the ball bounce. Reed then entered the gray area for a rule violation.
Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo’s CBS broadcast crew were skeptical after watching the episode unfold. They also weren’t sold on Network Rules consultant Ken Tackett defending Reed. Tackett only said that Reed “got a little ahead of himself.”
“The optics are not good,” said Nantz (per Golf.com, who set the rules for this incident).
Reed told CBS’s Amanda Balionis after her turn that no one in her playgroup saw her shot bounce. He said he only saw what really happened after a rules official showed him the video in the scorer’s tent. He said the manager then told him that he had handled the situation “perfectly”.
Reed said much the same to Golf Channel.
“We agree with the outcome of the situation,” Tackett said after the tour, by PGATour.com.
Reed signed for a 70 after his round; he’s tied for the tournament lead after 54 holes. But he now knows that his shot on 10 rebounded before stopping, which contradicts what he saw and heard. Should Reed have admitted a mistake and given himself a one-stroke penalty, giving himself a 71? Or did he later disqualify himself for signing an incorrect scorecard? It would have been the honorable thing.