Patrick Reed’s ruling controversy


Patrick Reed is a name which comes to mind when talking about ruling controversies since there have been multiple instances which have raised eyebrows. 

The most recent rules incident for Patrick happened on Jan.30th, a day before his convincing 5 stroke victory at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego . While some players, fans and media called it  cheating, the PGA TOUR has put the lid on the issue  honouring the rules officials’ verdict.

How did it happen?

Reed’s approach shot on the par-4 10th hole sailed well left into deep rough. As he approached the ball, he asked a volunteer if the shot bounced after striking the ground. The volunteer said no, leading Reed to believe his ball may have embedded in the ground. Under the Rules of Golf, players can check if their ball is embedded and receive free relief if it is. The first three rounds of the Farmers Insurance Open have been played under lift, clean and place because of wet conditions, including more than an inch of rain that fell Friday. Torrey Pines is so wet that the agronomy staff was unable to mow before the third round, Nick Faldo said on the CBS telecast.

Before checking his ball, Reed told his playing partners, “Hey guys, I’m going to check it. They said it didn’t bounce.” When rules official Brad Fabel arrived, Reed had already determined his ball was embedded and moved it. Reed then asked Fabel to check the ground for an indentation, saying, “Since I picked it up to check – it seems like it broke ground – but I want you to double check.” Fabel said he did feel an indentation in the ground and determined that Reed’s ball had been embedded. He then guided Reed through the drop for relief.

“When you have three players, three caddies and the volunteer (who’s) really close to the golf ball not seeing the ball bounce, then you have to go by what everyone sees and what everyone saw,” Reed said after the round. “When no one has seen that, then the rules official basically says whether it’s free relief or not, and the rules official agreed that the ball had broken the plane and it was a relief.”

The problems arose because TV slow motion replays clearly showed the ball had bounced. Since Rules Officials did not check the replays before giving their decision and did not penalise Reed before he submitted his scorecard, there was mayhem on social media. 

Learnings for competitive golfers –

As per the PGA TOUR rules officials, Reed did nothing wrong and here’s what every golfer can learn from this.

  1. Always have your playing partners informed about your move/action with the ball
  2. Ask your local course referee for clarification
  3. Ask nearby volunteers if they had seen the ball at the point of entry

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