Patrick Reed’s Hero World Challenge rules breach offers Presidents Cup edge, says David Livingstone

After Patrick Reed was penalised for a rules breach at Tiger Woods’ Hero World Challenge, David Livingstone assesses the edge it has provided the Presidents Cup.

By crossing the fine line between likeable bad boy and arrogant, self-justifying fool, Reed has given the Presidents Cup an edge it always lacked.

Australian fans are going to love such an easy target and the International players will surely get a lift from Reed’s petulant reaction to being penalised during the third round of Tiger Woods’ Hero World Challenge.

Indisputable television evidence showed his club twice brushing sand in a waste bunker during practice strokes.

Reed obviously didn’t notice because he carried on to finish his round before being summoned by officials to view video of the incident.

No one accused him of cheating by deliberately improving his lie but, from his rambling comments afterwards, you’d think they had.

“At the end of the day, you’ve got to let things kind of roll off your shoulders,” he said.

“If I stew over something that I felt like I didn’t intentionally do, at the end of the day, it’s my word versus their word, and they weren’t standing there, they had a camera angle.

“So because of that you don’t really have a choice…So at the end of the day, you have to just accept it and move on.”

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This self-absorbed nonsense is typical of Reed when he’s trying to clear up the mess he frequently creates, but usually it’s forgivable from a lovable rogue who roughs up his rivals.

This was different because it sounded as if he was trying to defend the indefensible when, instead, he should have said sorry and behaved with a bit of humility.

Then again, this is Patrick Reed we’re talking about, a player who courts criticism the way others crave approval.

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According to PGA Tour rules official Slugger White, Reed was “graceful” and took his punishment like a gentleman and we’ll have to take Slugger’s word for that, but the player’s comments later were far from gracious.

Reed has to understand he can’t brush off a serious rules infraction in the same way as he dismissed locker room rows at the Ryder Cup.

Also, having a camera twice capture a blatant violation of the rules is not the same as a microphone picking up the odd swear word. You can say sorry in both cases but, in the former, you have to understand and accept the consequences without question.

I’ve always defended Reed’s right to be different from the PGA tour template because I’ve always had a soft spot for sport’s rebels but, even before last weekend, he’s been testing that admiration.

David Livingstone

Reed’s “my word versus theirs” comment demonstrates quite clearly that he didn’t grasp the case against him.

It’s a pity because this incident makes it more difficult for his admirers to champion his more likeable eccentric behaviour.

I’ve always defended Reed’s right to be different from the PGA tour template because I’ve always had a soft spot for sport’s rebels but, even before last weekend, he’s been testing that admiration.

During a European Tour event earlier this year he chided a television cameraman for getting too close to him on the fairway as he prepared to hit.

These things happen because some players are more sensitive in their own space than others, but the cameraman was simply doing his normal job, trying to give viewers the best possible pictures.

When the same cameraman carefully took his position behind Reed on a later shot, the player waved him away telling him his “privileges” had been revoked.

I watched this on television, glad to be thousands of miles away because, had I been at the tournament, I would have felt the need to go to Reed later in the day and explain the meaning of the word privilege.

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At the same time, though, I’d have been happy to tell Patrick how much I admired him for being a real personality in golf and thank him for his willingness to travel and for his contribution to the European Tour.

Now, after what happened last weekend, it would have to be a different conversation but I’d still give him the benefit of any doubts about his intentions and ambitions in golf.

A more important conversation will be the one between Reed and the captain who picked him for the Presidents Cup.

Tiger Woods has had to deal with many of his own rules controversies so he’ll most likely be untroubled by Reed’s transgression in the Bahamas.

Perhaps more of a concern for the captain is how his feisty charge will fare this week when the raucous Australian fans get on his back. Reed’s clever “shushing” gesture during the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles five years ago simply won’t wash at Royal Melbourne.

If he tries to give as good as he gets from the Aussies, it could become messy, but it’s probably what the Presidents Cup needs.

Australia’s famous Sandbelt is probably the last place Reed wants to visit after what happened in the waste bunker in the Bahamas but you can be sure the fiery Texan is up for the challenge.

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