You can do a lot wrong in golf but to be labelled a ‘cheat’ is the lowest of the low. So when the ‘c’ word came up in a chat with reporters Patrick Reed took umbrage with the worst allegation in the game.
“It’s not the right word to use. Whenever you’re out there and you do something unintentionally that breaks a rule, it’s not considered cheating and at the end of the day that’s what it is,” said one of Tiger Woods’ four picks.
“If you intentionally try to do something, then yes it would be considered cheating. But I wasn’t intentionally trying to improve the lie or anything like that. If I was, it would have been a pretty good lie and I would have hit it really close.”
The last line here isn’t the best but the rest, four days later from the incident, is pretty clear. Say what you like but when someone is called a cheat then things go up a level.
As they did at the weekend, when Australian rookie Cameron Smith called a spade (no pun intended) a spade by insisting he didn’t “have any sympathy for anyone that cheats”.
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“It goes from wanting to beat those guys to it now turning personal so it’s going to be a fun week,” Reed added. “Of course they are going to speak out because they want to get their crowds going and get on their side. That’s the name of the game. It doesn’t matter who I’m playing on the other team.”
As for the expected stick then apparently the worst that has come so far is when someone from the crowd shouted ‘excavator’. That’s as bad as it’s been, though things will likely heat up as the matches get going.
And going back to the incident that has generated enough criticism to finish most players off, Reed added that there was no intent, whatever anyone else cares to suggest.
“The ball was in the waste area,” he added. “I didn’t feel like it was intentional or anything. If I would have saw the sand move and I knew immediately if it did, it was a penalty. I didn’t see it move, and because of that they were able to show me afterward, and because it did move it was a penalty.”
Finally, one blunt question was met with the expected blunt answer. Asked if Reed had ever cared what anyone has said about him, he replied: “Not really. At the end of the day, you can’t control what other people say about you. All you can do is control what you do.”
Could the golf ball be rolled back for everyone?