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#pounditSaturday, April 13, 2024

Patrick Reed involved in another rules controversy after ball lands in tree

Patrick Reed on the course

Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via Imagn Content Services

Patrick Reed on Sunday was involved in yet another rules controversy, but tournament officials said the former Masters champion was not guilty of any infraction.

Reed was near the top of the leaderboard in the Desert Dubai Classic when his tee shot on the 17th hole at the Emirates Club became lodged in a tree. There were several balls stuck in the same tree, but Reed was able to identify the unique markings on his ball with the help of rules officials.

Reed used binoculars that were provided by European Tour Chief Referee Kevin Feeney to identify his ball. Since he was certain it was his ball and officials agreed, he was able to take an unplayable (resulting in a one-stroke penalty) and drop a new ball directly below his original one. Reed made a bogey on the hole.

After he finished 3-under for the day and four shots back of 54-hole leader Rory McIlroy, Reed told reporters he was “100 percent” certain when identifying his ball. He said he would have gone back to the tee if not.

“I got lucky that we were able to look through the binoculars,” Reed told the media, via John Huggan of Golf Digest. “You have to make sure it’s your ball. How I mark my golf balls is I always put an arrow on the end of my line, because (on) the Pro VI, the arrow on the end stops before it so you can see the arrow. You could definitely see and identify the line with the arrow on the end. The rules official luckily was there to reconfirm and check it to make sure it was mine as well.”

Fans still questioned the ruling, mostly because of Reed’s history and reputation. One video that circulated on social media claimed to show Reed’s ball landing in a different tree from the one in which he claimed to identify it, though the footage did not seem all that clear.

The important thing is multiple DP World Tour officials agreed that the Ball was Reed’s. The organization issued a statement after the round about the ruling.

“During round three of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic, two on course referees and several marshals identified that Patrick Reed’s ball had become lodged in a specific tree following his tee shot on 17. The DP World Tour Chief Referee joined the player in the area and asked him to identify his distinctive ball markings,” the statement read. “Using binoculars, the chief referee was satisfied that a ball with those markings was lodged in the tree. The player subsequently took an unplayable penalty drop (Rule 19.2c) at the point directly below the ball on the ground. To clarify, the player was not asked to specify the tree but to identify his distinctive ball markings to confirm it was his ball.”

One of the most notable rules controversies involving Reed took place at the 2021 Farmers Insurance Open, when he improved his lie after declaring that his ball had embedded in the ground on a wet course. Replays appeared to show that the ball bounced, which means Reed should not have been awarded a free drop. You can see that video here.

Reed’s week in Dubai got off to a controversial start when he had a tense exchange with McIlroy on the driving range. The questions about Sunday’s ruling will only add to that.

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