Patrick Reed has built up the unfortunate — but accurate — reputation of a cheater on the PGA Tour. Every time he marks his ball on the green or so much as pricks a blade of grass near his ball in the rough, rules officials on the course and golf fans watching at home are keeping a careful eye on Reed to make sure there’s no funny business going on.
But Reed found himself in the middle of another on-course cheating scandal this weekend at the Farmer Insurance Open, and fans weren’t too happy about it.
Patrick Reed’s checkered past
Golf is a sport that prides itself on honesty and preciseness. If your tee shot ends up in a divot or your approach shot plugs in a greenside bunker, tough luck. Play the ball as it lies, don’t lie about your score, and keep the integrity of the game intact when you’re on the course.
But Patrick Reed has been one to bend the rules in the past, and it’s made him one of the most hated figures on the PGA Tour today.
Reed’s checkered past dates all the way back to his college days. When he was on the golf team at the University of Georgia, he was accused of cheating and stealing from teammates and was later dismissed from the team.
More recently, Reed was caught improving his lie in a waste area at the 2019 World Hero Challenge. Reed denied purposefully cheating at the time, but he was still assessed a two-stroke penalty for moving sand away from his ball before hitting.
A year later, Reed has found himself in yet another cheating controversy.
Reed’s newest cheating scandal
Patrick Reed was cruising along at the top of the leaderboard on Saturday during the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. During his third round, Reed hit a wayward approach shot into the par-4 10th hole, and the ball ended up in the rough short and left of the green.
As Reed approached his ball, he asked a nearby volunteer course marshal if the ball had bounced or plugged into the ground. After a short conversation, Reed marked his ball and moved it out of its original spot before a rules official could assess the situation.
The rules official eventually gave Reed relief from an embedded ball, and he got up-and-down to save par on the hole. Golf fans around the world quickly flooded the Internet accusing Reed of cheating, and they were delighted to see him bogey holes 11, 13, 14, and 16 to drop from the lead afterward.
Patrick Reed explains himself
After the round, Reed spoke to CBS’ Amanda Balionis about the incident live on television. Here’s what went down, according to Reed himself:
“When I put my finger down there and I felt like it has broken ground, first thing you do is you call a rules official because you want the rules official to come over to make sure it is. The rules official came over and said yes, this ball has broken the plane and with no one seeing the ball bounce, that’s what we all saw; so because of that, the rules official’s like, ‘Well, since no one else has seen it bounce and it’s seven people, therefore you get free drop and free relief.
“At that point, we just go with what the rules official said and also with what the volunteers and what we see. That’s one of those things: when we’re out there, we can’t see everything and when that happens, you have to go by with what the volunteers say, with what the rules officials say.
“When all comes to push and shove, we felt like we did the right thing and the rules official said we did absolutely perfectly. With that being said, we’ve moved on and just continued playing.”
Reed wasn’t assessed a penalty for the incident, and he enters the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open tied for the lead.