It seems clear at this point that Patrick Reed will do just about whatever it takes to win. Whether that’s cheating, gamesmanship, or the tried-and-true method of actually hitting the golf ball less than your opponents, Reed doesn’t care; he just wants to win. Obviously the word “cheating” comes with a lot of baggage and isn’t thrown around lightly, especially in golf where honesty and integrity are the only real defense the sport has against chaos. So in discussing Reed’s most recent incident (there have been SEVERAL dating back to his college golf days) there are really only two sides to sit on. We can all agree he definitely broke a rule and was penalized, so that leaves us with:
- He did it on purpose
- OR believing Reed’s explanation of the camera angle being misleading
If it were up to me, Reed would have been disqualified and removed from the Presidents Cup team unless he offered a full-fledged apology. That may seem a little harsh, but he has done this multiple times and I really don’t think a two-stroke penalty is going to be the deterrent it’s intended to be. Yes, he lost the event by two strokes, but he still earned a ton of money and no real message was sent. In fact, Slugger White coming out in defense of Reed just emboldens “Captain America”.
Don’t take it from me though. In a discussion leading into Presidents Cup press conferences last night on The Golf Channel, lead analyst Brandel Chamblee took center stage in leading the charge against Reed’s actions. In a bit of a strange turn the usually quiet host of the show Ryan Burr attempted to play the other side and explain Reed’s perspective. Big mistake from Burr. While the other two analysts stayed mostly quiet for the 10 minute chat, Chamblee and Burr went back and forth. The result was the equivalent of a 9&8 drumming in match play. With Brandel drumming both Reed AND Burr.
Brandel = BC Ryan = RB
- RB: As teammates, shouldn’t they defend him?
- BC: No, I don’t think they should.
- RB: Oh come on, they’re teammates.
- BC: How are you going to defend that? It’s an untenable situation.
- RB: When you’re now in a team situation, it becomes a little different than an individual game.
- BC: They won’t defend him, they wont convict him; they won’t speak on it. They have no doubt been well coached not to talk on this issue…. But the unadmitted specter of having someone in their midst who so flagrantly broke the rules. Look, they made a deal with the devil when they chose to have Patrick Reed on this team. And the hope was, whatever darkness he would bring to the team would be offset by his competitive fire.
- (Cont)… When was the last time someone stabbed everyone on their team as soon as the tournament was over? Well it was the last time there was a team event; and it was Patrick Reed who did that. When was the last time you saw a video so convincing, so convicting, as the video you saw at the Hero?
- RB: Well let me ask you this –
- BC: When was it? You didn’t. You’ve never seen it.
- RB: What I want to ask you is, if this wasn’t Patrick Reed in the same video… Is there part of you that would be more likely to give that person the benefit of the doubt that you’re not extending to Patrick Reed?
- BC: The echoes of the past –
- RB: So you’re saying? –
- BC: Well hold on, let me answer your question. The echoes of his past, which he hoped that the media members wouldn’t pen or write with a keyboard; he just did with a wrecking ball. He did that. And his teammates going back to the University of Georgia, his coach going back to the University of Georgia, Augusta, they all talked about how they didn’t like him as a teammate, and that he played loose and fast with the rules. So your question, yes –
- RB: Would you give another player the benefit of the doubt?
- BC: The benefit of the doubt goes a long way. Do they have a history of anything like this? If it was completely inconsistent to anything they’d ever done –
- RB: First time offense.
- BC: First time offense, maybe. Maybe. It depends on a case-by-case basis. But this was flagrant. This was absolutely flagrant. There’s just no way, no camera angle; anybody in the world of golf that watched this, it was repugnant video to the world of golf and those watching.
- RB: The video is damning, there is no doubt. I do think that the past, while it certainly is part of the story, if we’re taking this on a case-by-case basis, the fact that it is Patrick Reed probably makes it a little worse. I think you’ve proved the point to that –
- BC: There’s video of him doing the exact same thing in 2015.
At this point Ryan tried to bring in the other two analysts on the panel; veteran writer Jaime Diaz and former pro golfer Jim Gallagher Jr.
Jaime started off by discussing the most damning part of the whole thing in his opinion: Reed’s response to the penalty, the attempted cover-up of sorts when there is video evidence that couldn’t possibly be more clear. Again Ryan interjected, saying you “can’t get inside somebody’s brain,” a reference to Reed’s reason being the camera angle, and stuck his foot in his mouth once again by claiming its “not about intent.” This led the whole panel to jump in and reaffirm that there is no possible way he could have done this without knowing he was moving the sand.
Doing his best to find any possible way out, Burr pivoted to the idea of rules being different in a waste bunker than a normal bunker. This didn’t fly on set either:
- BC: No, you don’t get to remove sand from a waste bunker either.
- RB: But you would handle the shot differently knowing what you’re allowed to do and what you’re not allowed to do.
- Jim: But you cant lay your club down in there, that’s improving your lie. That’s going against the spirit of the rule. The bottom line is, you cant blame somebody else. You’ve got to man up and admit you did it or you didn’t do it.
- RB: Well he’s taken the penalty.
- (Brandel gives Ryan *this* look after that comment)
After a short back-and-forth on whether Reed will apologize in his upcoming press conference (spoiler: he didn’t), the panel was forced to suffer through one final brain fart from the host:
- RB: There is a way you can make this go away and there is a way you can make this stay forever. At some point he needs to make this go away and –
- BC: How do you think he can make this go away forever? I can’t imagine it. I mean, this is going to follow him around like the video of Nixon saying “I’m not a crook” followed him around. How are you going to make this go away? I have been watching golf my entire life and I have never seen anything so flagrant. Never. Flagrant disregard for the traditions of this game, which are to self-govern, self-police, play the ball as it lies.
- RB: So the ball mark incidents with (Jon) Rahm or Lexi (Thompson)?
- BC: Every single incident that you can name, you can to some extent acquit whoever it was with the idea that they didn’t know they were breaking the rule, that there was no intent. You can acquit them. You cannot do that watching this video. And the fact that he says there is no intent; I think his ego is as big as Jupiter. Ego monsters are irritated by facts but they’re not moved aside by them. They think their version of what happened is greater than the truth.
- RB: Well I think Patrick Reed didn’t understand when he brought the word intent in; he wasn’t up to date on the rule. In this particular instance intent isn’t part of the rule.
- BC: He still would’ve been penalized.
- RB: What I’m saying is with other rules there is room for interpretation when it comes to intent. You have some leeway there.
- BC: Yes, you do. Him saying he didn’t intend, he still gets the penalty, but he doesn’t get the scorn. If people bought that. But the scorn will still be there.
- RB: That means you’re calling him a liar then.
- BC: Nobody that watched that video thinks he didn’t intend to do what he did. Nobody. It’s as convincing of a video as you’d ever hope to see.
- RB: He said he didn’t intend to do it. So you either call him a liar or accept him at his word.
- BC: Lots of people have a way of rationalizing their behavior when they’re found out to be in error; a huge error.
Reed doubled down on his claims against cheating in his pre-Presidents Cup presser. You can see the full comments online, but to summarize: He is taking this “personally.”
No doubt this story will only keep getting bigger as the week goes on. Oh and by the way, Royal Melbourne (host course this week) has a TON of bunkers; both waste AND sand. Here’s hoping those Aussie fans give Patrick a good piece of their minds.