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Jan 13th, 2020
The Patrick Reed Saga
The Tour must revisit its procedure and sanctions
Words: David Adair Photography: Getty Images
I didn’t think I would hear myself say this, but I feel sorry for Patrick Reed. Don’t get me wrong the guy has handled the whole affair badly and he clearly was borderline cheating at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas last December. However, due to the Tour’s insistence that the matter has been dealt with it has basically thrown the American to the lions, who in this case are the media and the golfing public.
I still find it unconscionable that Reed did not realise he had brushed sand away from behind his ball, twice, but I also find it extraordinary that all he received was a two-stroke penalty at the conclusion of his round and no further sanction.
Had Reed been disqualified and humbly accepted the sanction, even maybe throwing in that it was an innocent error (I stress maybe here) then I don’t believe we’d have heard that much more about it.
A parallel can be drawn with the Billy Mayfair saga during the Tour’s Invesco QQQ Championship. On that occasion, due to an additional rule infringement, the officials were able to disqualify Mayfair. He caught a fair bit of flack even though his response was similar to that of Reed in that he professed innocence and sought to deflect the blame to others.
It is true that the Tour has followed its own procedures but then given the golfing public reaction surely they must look at those procedures. Reed should not have received the same sanction as someone who has innocently fallen foul of the rules. Perhaps a new offence such as bringing the game into disrepute should be introduced.
Rule 1.2 of the rules of golf states that:
All players are expected to play in the spirit of the game by:
- Acting with integrity – for example, by following the Rules, applying all penalties, and being honest in all aspects of play.
- Showing consideration to others – for example, by playing at a prompt pace, looking out for the safety of others, and not distracting the play of another player.
- Taking good care of the course – for example, by replacing divots, smoothing bunkers, repairing ball-marks, and not causing unnecessary damage to the course.
One could clearly argue that Patrick Reed broke this rule but sadly the rules book adds:
‘There is no penalty under the Rules for failing to act in this way, except that the Committee may disqualify a player for acting contrary to the spirit of the game if it finds that the player has committed serious misconduct.’
I would suggest the PGA Tour should be able to impose a sanction, such as disqualification, if they, as a group consider a player has breached rule 1.2.
However, I would go further and have a form of card system. For example, in severe cases, a player could be issued a yellow or red card. Two yellow cards in a season result in a red card which excludes a player from the next tour event and a red card offence results in a player immediately sitting out the next event.
Under such a system Patrick Reed could have been disqualified and issued with either a yellow or red card. Obviously, there would need to be an appeal system, especially as young Patrick is not averse to using lawyers, but other sports seem to manage ok.
So come on tour officials, in trying to sweep things under the carpet you are actually doing more harm than good. Time to act!
And another thing...