TV footage seems to show the American – who has a history of being on the wrong side of the rules – up to his old tricks. This time, though, he has the DP World Tour to thank for avoiding controversy

You just knew the Rory McIlroy incident on the range earlier in the week wasn’t going to be the end of the Patrick Reed controversy at the Dubai Desert Classic. 

Just days after what the golf world dubbed ‘Tee-gate’, Reed found himself embroiled in a bizarre rules incident during Sunday’s third round at Emirates Golf Club. 

After a wayward tee shot at the 17th, the former Masters champion’s ball lodged in one of three palm trees that flank the right hand side of the fairway of the 359-yard par-4 hole.    

With the help of two on-course officials – including the DP World Tour’s chief referee Kevin Feeney – and a pair of binoculars, Reed was able to identify his ball in the tree that, of the three, is closest to the green. If he hadn’t, it would have been deemed lost and he would have been forced to go back to the tee to play his third shot.

“I got lucky that we were able to look through the binoculars,” Reed told reporters after the round. “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 the Pro V1 arrow on the end stops before it – so you can see the arrow, and you could definitely see and identify the line with the arrow on the end. 

“The rules official luckily was there to reconfirm and check to make sure it was mine as well.”

When asked if he was 100 per cent sure it was his, he added: “100 per cent. I would have gone back to the tee if I wasn’t 100 per cent.”

As it was, he pitched onto the green from the rough before two putting for a bogey five.

But of course there would scepticism – Reed, after all, has plenty of history of being on the wrong side of the rules – and so it was left to the Golf Channel and analyst Brandel Chamblee to take a closer look at the footage.

We’ll leave you to make your own minds up, but any chance of a feeling of wrongdoing among golf fans – particularly about whether or not it was the correct tree – was distinguished with a brief statement from the DP World Tour.

“Two on-course referees and several marshals identified that 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 the distinctive ball markings. 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 (Rule 19.2c) at the point directly below the ball on the ground.”

Significantly, the statement signed off: “To clarify, the player was not asked to specify the tree but to identify his distinctive ball markings to confirm it was his ball.” 

Reed went on to finish second after a ding-dong battle with McIlroy on Monday of the weather-delayed tournament.

Alex Perry


Alex has been the editor of National Club Golfer since 2017. A Devonian who enjoys wittering on about his south west roots, Alex moved north to join NCG after more than a decade in London, the last five of which were with ESPN. Away from golf, Alex follows Torquay United and spends too much time playing his PlayStation or his guitar and not enough time practising his short game.

Handicap: 14

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