Patrick Reed was fully exonerated by the DP World Tour following a rules incident during Sunday’s third round of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic. Among a jury of his peers, however, it’s not such an open-and-shut case.
A pair of tour pros, Mike Lorenzo-Vera and Ben An, posted tweets on Tuesday aimed at the 2018 Masters champ, who finished runner-up to Rory McIlroy on Monday. Lorenzo-Vera, a DP World Tour veteran, offered the most blunt assessment of the situation.
Reed’s tee shot got stuck in a palm tree on the 17th hole on Sunday, but with a pair of binoculars—and a DP World Tour official helping him through the process—he was able to identify his golf ball with what he described after the round as 100 percent certainty. From there he took a one-stroke penalty for an unplayable lie, dropped and made bogey. He wound up losing to McIlroy, with whom the LIV golfer had a driving-range run-in earlier in the week, by one shot. His runner-up finish earned him nearly $1 million.
Following the incident, Golf Channel commentator Brandel Chamblee broke down footage of the shot using slow-motion video during a Golf Channel broadcasts and raised the question of whether Reed’s golf ball was actually stuck in a different tree than the one he was looking at with the binoculars. Chamblee argued if Reed was looking at the wrong tree, he likely was not identifying the correct ball. Under the Rules of Golf, if a golfer can’t identify his ball in such a situation, it’s treated as a lost ball with the player having to take a one-stroke penalty and return to the spot he played his previous shot.
On Tuesday, Reed issued the following statement:
It should be noted that Lorenzo-Vera has been very vocal against LIV Golf—and the participation of LIV golfers in DP World Tour events. The 38-year-old Frenchman was particularly displeased last September when he didn’t get into the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship as an alternate when there were several LIV players in the field ahead of him. Lorenzo-Vera also was not in the field in Dubai.
An, a PGA Tour member, did not refer to Reed specifically in his Twitter post while making a not-so-subtle reference to “Treegate”:
Conversely, Rory McIlroy, who fended off Reed’s final-round charge—as well as one of his LIV tees on Tuesday—defended the American on Monday.
“I felt it was fine,” McIlroy said following his win. “If it had been anyone else in the field it would have been a nonissue, but because of certain things in the past, people bring stuff up, which is maybe unfair in some ways. But again, it is what it is. I’ve stood and defended Patrick in some of the controversies. I don’t feel like he was trying to get any advantage.”
Clearly, there are other players who don’t feel the same.