By now we have all seen the bizarre footage from last week at the Hero World Challenge of Patrick Reed improving his lie in a bunker. The attempt was by no means discrete, and resulted in a 2-stroke penalty for Reed.
As if the golfing world needed more ammo to go after Reed with, they certainly did not hold back on this occasion. Fans, Twitter trolls, and even PGA Tour members all seemingly took to social media to voice their opinions on the matter. Some were calling for Reed to be disqualified from the tournament, suspended, or to even be kicked off the President’s Cup team.
It’s taken me a bit to develop my stance on this one. Yes, it’s a violation of the rules, and yes, it also appeared blatant. I’m glad he was penalized and that it was not overlooked, because it was deserving. The players were allowed to ground their club in certain bunkers, and I am in now way defending what he did as right, but maybe he just forgot? People make mistakes from time to time, but this was sort of a big one to make. For a man that already has a big enough target on his back, this was big, but I’m not giving up on Patrick Reed just yet.
Unlike a lot of others in the golfing world, I genuinely do not mind Patrick Reed. As a matter of fact, there isn’t really anyone on Tour that I do not like. I hear people say all the time, “I can’t stand this guy” or ” I’ll never root for that guy.” My only question is why? Yes, we have our favorites, but we don’t know these people on a personal level. It seems a bit childish that we “don’t like someone” just because they play slow, or are too mechanical, or just simply play golf differently than we do. There are so many great players in golf, and they each deserve a level or appreciation for their own unique individualism.
There is so much surrounding Reed from his personal life and past experiences, that we as fans, just don’t know for sure what is true or not. Personally, I like to give Reed the benefit of the doubt. We hear all sorts of rumors from past teammates or friends, but then we hear things from reporters about how much they think Reed is misunderstood. A situation like this does not help his already poor reputation, and unfortunately it may have pushed many over the edge of repair.
With all the rumors of his past, it’s tough to give him a break on this one. With all the cameras around during a PGA Tour event, I don’t even know why one would try and attempt something like that. I mean, what were you thinking man? It was almost comparable to something you or I might do playing a late 9 at the club when the bunkers have been torn apart with play all day. Just not something you see from a professional golfer in that situation.
This was a poor mistake by Reed, and one that will probably be bothersome and talked about for awhile. I do not believe he should be kicked off the President’s Cup team, as this is now in the past and were are moving forward into a great week, but I do fully believe he will face some sort of backlash from players or fans this week heading into Australia.
One thing I have admired by Reed is the criticism never seems to bother him. He faces so much judgement on a regular basis from media and fans, but he seems to just let roll of his back and keep playing golf. He is who he is, and he’s not going to let what other people think bother him. In a world that is so dominated by social media, and how others perceive you, it’s admirable in my eyes that he seems to be comfortable in his own skin with just who he is.