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December 11, 2019

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I did not cheat, insists Reed, as Presidents Cup gets personal

American golfer Patrick Reed has denied cheating in a tournament last week and hit out at International Team players for saying he had, as a little edge entered proceedings yesterday ahead of the Presidents Cup.

Reed received a two-stroke penalty for improving his lie when he moved sand with his practice swing on Friday at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. The incident has dominated the run-up to the biennial contest, which begins in Melbourne tomorrow.

Cameron Smith was quoted in Australian media as saying Reed had been “cheating the rules” and some of his International teammates said the American had exposed himself to some flak from the crowd through his actions.

Former Masters champion Reed fired back at a news conference yesterday, saying “cheat” was inaccurate because he had not seen the sand move and the officials concurred that he inadvertently improved his lie.

“It’s not the right word to use,” he said. “If you do something unintentionally that breaks the rules, it’s not considered cheating ...

“If you’re intentionally trying to do something, that would be considered cheating, but I wasn’t intentionally trying to improve a lie or anything like that ...

“It’s just wrong, it’s just not right.”

United States Team captain Tiger Woods on Monday said that he had spoken to Reed about the incident and was keen to draw a line under it as he looked to extend the Americans’ seven-match winning streak at the Presidents Cup.

The 15-time major champion sank the winning putt the time the contest was last held at Royal Melbourne in 2011, when the Australian crowd was criticized by some Internationals for being overawed by the Americans.

Reed suspected the row was being used by the Internationals to ensure that did not happen again. “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.”

Reed said he hoped any banter with the crowd remained respectful and that the row over his violation had made him more determined to win.

“It goes from wanting to beat those guys to it now turning personal, so it’s going to be a fun week,” he said.

Woods said he does not expect Reed to be subjected to abuse by fans.

Woods has been bombarded with questions about the 2018 Masters champion since touching down in Australia on Monday, with the assembled media seemingly uninterested in anyone else.

Having addressed the matter on Monday, he fielded questions again yesterday at a joint news conference with International counterpart Ernie Els.

“I’m sure somebody’s going to say something out there, but I think that in general, all the times I have been to Australia and have played here, the fans have been fantastic,” said Woods. “They are the most knowledgeable, the most excitable fans. They love their sport.”

Woods also said he did not think Reed would be fazed by any extra scrutiny.

“Pat will be fine,” said playing captain Woods. “Pat is a great kid. He’s handled a tough upbringing well, and I just think that he’s one of our best team players and is one of the reasons why all of the guys wanted him on the team.”


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