Although stories about Tiger Woods were circulating at the World Hero Challenge, the event’s main focus became Patrick Reed. He was penalized a couple of strokes for contravening Rule 8.1.
During round three, Reed enhanced his intended playing line, while taking a couple of practice shots after wiping sand off his ball. This incident caused social media to erupt. However, Reed subsequently claimed that he didn’t mean to break the rules, and that replay footage from another angle would show that he didn’t gain any advantage.
While his fellow players were all making progress, Patrick Reed had a thirty-six hole lead but was struggling somewhat, with ten straight pars during round three of the Albany Golf Club World Hero Challenge.
Unfortunately, things didn’t improve.
At the par-five, eleventh hole, Reed made a poor shot that landed in the unraked waste area. Then he used his sand wedge to ground his golf club, which is forbidden. However, while taking some practice shots, he wiped the sand off the ball, appearing to enhance his position – as cameras from the NBC Golf Channel recorded and broadcast the whole sequence repeatedly.
This incident occurred on the eleventh hole at the Albany Golfing Club, then was shared by millions of people online. The leader after a couple of days, Reed was subsequently contacted by tournament officials to explain the incident, then they handed down the punishment.
Broadcaster Dan Hicks pointed out that Reed had committed the infraction twice, and Paul Azinger was not impressed either.
The rules state that clubs can be grounded by players before they take shots in sandy waste areas (in contrast to officially designated bunkers). However, they cannot make hitting the ball any easier for themselves by brushing away any excess soil or sand.
The tournament officials had to watch the replay footage, then decide whether to award a penalty.
Reed managed birdies on three of the last five holes, salvaging a seventy-two even par, before being informed that he would be penalized. After the 2-stoke penalty, his score was a 72. He went from twelve under and one shot from the lead, to ten under and three down, before the final round on Saturday.
Reed said that he did not intentionally break the rules, after viewing the replay footage.
He claimed that he spent about five minutes reviewing the footage with tournament officials. In the end, he was punished for improving his playing position.
“Removing or pressing down excess sand or soil is forbidden, that’s the rule,” according to Slugger White, the Competitions and Rules Vice President of PGA TOURs.
White said that Reed did not lose his temper.
“Intention is irrelevant in this situation,” he said.
“Now I have seen the footage, I accept the two-stroke punishment,” said Reed.
This two-stroke penalty did not turn out well for Reed, who ended up finishing two behind the winner, Henrik Stenson. Reed’s actions were not warmly received by others either, including many professionals, with Cameron Smith stating that people who cheat do not deserve any sympathy.