Patrick Reed was hit with a two-shot penalty at the Hero World Challenge after getting busted by social media

Patrick Reed is the latest player to find himself caught up in a rules debacle after the former Masters champion was hit with a two-stroke penalty at the Hero World Challenge.

Reed was adjudged to have improved his lie in a sanded waste area near the 11th green at Albany Golf Club, and a clip of the incident went viral on social media.

Rule 8.1a(4) states that while a player can ground their club in waste areas, they are not allowed to “remove or press down on sand or loose soil”.

Rules officials informed Reed after his round, but the 29-year-old was adamant he had done nothing wrong.

“It was in a full footprint and I felt my club was that far behind the ball when I was taking a practice swing,” Reed said. “It was obviously hitting a bit of sand, though I didn’t feel any drag. But when they brought it up for me [on TV] I definitely saw it drag and, because of that, it is a two-shot penalty even though I didn’t feel like it would have affected my lie.

“Every time I get in one of those bunkers I am scared to get my club close to [the ball]. I accept the two-shot penalty, even though there was not any intent as I was far enough away.”

When pushed as to why he accepted the penalty when he didn’t think he’d broken any rules, he added: “I think with a different camera angle they would have seen it was not improving the lie as I was far enough away from the golf ball.

“I don’t ever put the club directly behind the ball in a situation like that as I am scared of it moving. Intent is a big part but with only one camera angle it is a 50-50 battle when you are being assessed for anything like that.

“I told them there was no intent and it was far enough away from the ball, but they didn’t have another camera angle to show that and they felt it might have been improving the lie.

“At the end of the day you have got to let things roll off your shoulders. If I stew over something, it’s my word against their word and because they only have one camera angle, I don’t really have a choice.

“After seeing it brush some sand, they thought that was a breach and, in the Rules of Golf, if you improve your lie, it is a penalty. At the end of the day you have to accept it and move on.”

The PGA Tour’s vice-president of rules and competitions, Slugger White, explained: “I don’t know if he could have seen it as clearly as we did but he could not have been a better gentleman.

“Intent would not matter here, that’s not in the mix.”

Social media wasn’t as kind though, with LET star Anne van Dam leading the charge…

Eddie Pepperell also weighed in. “What the f*** were you thinking?” the Englishman wrote.