(Reuters) – Patrick Reed was penalized two strokes for a rules violation in the Hero World Challenge third round in the Bahamas on Friday in an incident that left two former players incredulous at the former Masters champion’s actions.
FILE PHOTO: Golf – The 148th Open Championship – Royal Portrush Golf Club, Portrush, Northern Ireland – July 20, 2019 Patrick Reed of the U.S. on the 18th hole during the third round REUTERS/Ian Walton
Reed was docked the strokes after twice moving sand while taking practice swings in a sandy waste area at the 11th hole at Albany Golf Club, which served to marginally improve his lie.
The 2018 Masters champion was deemed to have improved his lie and intended line of play by “removing or pressing down sand or loose soil,” in violation of rule 8.1a.
The halfway leader thus carded a round of 74 and fell three strokes behind the 54-hole leader, fellow American Gary Woodland.
Reed said he had not intended to gain any advantage, but officials said intent was irrelevant.
“After seeing the club go back and brush some sand, they (PGA Tour officials) thought that’s a breach of the rules,” Reed told reporters.
“After seeing the video, it’s a two-stroke penalty. I accept that.”
The television pictures were filmed from behind, which Reed said did not quite show where the club and sand were in relation to the ball.
Reed said he had grounded his club well behind the ball and that the sand he moved would not have made any difference to the shot.
“You only have one camera angle, that’s all you can go off of,” he said.
“It’s my word against their word. They weren’t standing there.
“I don’t ever put the club directly behind the ball because I’m always scared of the ball moving.”
Rules official Slugger White said whether Reed intended to brush the sand or not was not at issue.
“You could see the path of the sand come away on two different occasions,” White told reporters.
“He did it the first time, put the club down again and did it another time. Intent would not matter here.
“You cannot remove or press down loose soil or sand. That’s the bottom line.”
On Golf Channel, former touring professionals John Cook and Billy Kratzert couldn’t believe their eyes.
“You just can’t do that. What are you thinking?” said four-times tour winner Kratzert.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Ken Ferris and Edwina Gibbs
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