From The Inbox

‘Captain America’ walks the plank

In court of public opinion, Patrick Reed is found to be guilty while Rory McIlroy gets a pass, and that's not right, reader contends

In the 2016 Ryder Cup Sunday singles match between Patrick Reed and Rory McIlroy, Reed got the finger-pointing best of McIlroy. Americans loved Reed, and we labeled him “Captain America.”

Now, 4½ years later, both are embroiled in similar situations. But this time, Americans have turned on Reed and gave McIlroy a pass (“Patrick Reed, golf’s No. 1 villain, strikes again on PGA Tour,” Feb. 1).

It looks as if we court-martialed Captain America.    

Charlie Jurgonis
Fairfax, Va.

Spotlight shines on top players
A cloud hangs over Patrick Reed’s victory Sunday at the Farmers Insurance Open (“Patrick Reed, golf’s No. 1 villain, strikes again on PGA Tour,” Feb. 1). Or, so stated the weekend’s TV commentators.

As it turned out, though they did not like what they saw, the rules officials apparently believed that Reed's action in taking relief from an “embedded ball” was correct.

These TV types are the same ones who once raved when Tiger Woods enlisted the help of outside agents to remove a “loose impediment” in the final round of the 1999 Phoenix Open after a boulder blocked his line at the par-5 13th hole. Was Woods correct to get spectators to move the “loose impediment,” which required massive amounts of muscle to move?

Using the Woods example, should a player who cannot find a ball call spectators to help in a search?

I don't like the idea of employing outside agents. It favors the most popular golfers, as they have more followers to find lost balls and, at times, block errant shots. How many times has Woods struck a bad iron shot, only to have it drop into a crowd, resulting in a great lie rather than running down a slope into a tough lie? Is that fair to the field, that spectators aid one player over another?

Patrick Scott
Lakewood Ranch, Fla.

Don’t forget who made the call: Fabel, not Reed
After listening to various talking heads on TV and radio weigh in on the Patrick Reed rules situation on the 10th hole during the third round of the Farmers Insurance Open, it seems as if their sole focus was on Reed’s action. Lost in these discussions are the actions of Brad Fabel, the rules official who made the call (“Patrick Reed, golf’s No. 1 villain, strikes again on PGA Tour,” Feb. 1).

After receiving Reed's permission to do so, Fabel placed his finger into the ground where Reed's ball was. Based on what he felt and on the information at hand, Fabel ruled that the ball broke the plane of the ground and that Reed was entitled to relief. That should have been the end of the discussion.

We can argue all day about whether Reed should have called Fabel over before he lifted the ball, but what would that have changed? Almost certainly, nothing.

Reed did nothing to deceive Fabel, who made the call. Fabel made the call, not Reed. It seems as if those criticizing Reed are conveniently forgetting that fact.

Mark Harman
Ridgeland, S.C.
(Harman is the national course director for the U.S. Golf Teachers Federation.)

Treat all questionable drops with equality
Patrick Reed should have waited for the rules official (“Patrick Reed, golf’s No. 1 villain, strikes again on PGA Tour,” Feb. 1). However, I haven't heard much about Rory McIlroy. He didn't wait, and in fact his ball bounced lower than Reed’s. Where were you, Gary Van Sickle, in your reporting?

My point here is that one player, Reed, is not well liked, and the other, McIlroy, is well liked. So, McIlroy doesn't get much flak. And, no, Reed is not on my favorites' list and McIlroy is, but if you knock one, then you should knock the other.

Michael Merrill
McKinney, Texas

Reed gained nothing with drop
The bottom line in the Patrick Reed rules kerkuffle is being overlooked (“Patrick Reed, golf’s No. 1 villain, strikes again on PGA Tour,” Feb. 1).

Whether legitimately imbedded and allowed a drop in deep rough (as was allowed), or played untouched as originally found, Reed’s play was from deep rough either way. What was gained, what lie improved, by dropping in deep rough versus playing from deep rough?

Reed’s call of an embedded ball didn’t extricate himself from anything. Too much is being made of this incident.

If an intentional rules violation can be proved, then it is another matter altogether, but at this point, it cannot.

Gary Stauffenberg
Phoenix

Reed’s tarnished brand
I’m not sure about reader Charlie Jurgonis’ analogy comparing the Rules of Golf to “science” (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Feb. 1).

Jurgonis overlooks the fact that science and golf rules are both open to interpretation in application, in many cases. For touring professionals who are supported by sponsorships and viewership, the spirit of the rules is something that they should consider, even though the written rule does not require it. That is why the opinions of analysts such as Nick Faldo, Dottie Pepper and Brandel Chamblee always are relevant. In fact, they are paid to deliver their opinions on all things golf.

If Patrick Reed’s brand is tarnished for me, and that view is supported by knowledgeable people in the field, it seems my view of him has support.

Daryl Lott
Houston

A little experimentation would have helped
Regarding science and Patrick Reed’s actions Saturday, I have to disagree with reader Charlie Jurgonis (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Feb. 1).

Science is based on facts. The rules official will offer his reasonable judgment based on the facts available. One can only hope that they are not alternative facts.

TV replay shows that Reed’s ball hit the rough and bounced one time. Knowing the composition of that rough, it seems that, had the ground been so soft, the ball would have embedded on first strike, not after a bounce.

The rules official was not aware of the bounce. The TV replay showed the ball bounce, so they could have reconsidered the situation based on the additional facts.

Science also uses experimentation to make a determination of fact versus theory. After watching the replay, they could have gone to the scene of the incident and dropped a hundred balls from 3 feet and counted how many embedded in that thick rough. If more than zero, let the ruling stand. If fewer than one, add one stroke to his score and wait for Reed’s next drama.

Jim Kavanagh
St. Augustine, Fla.

CBS, Golf Channel relentlessly attack Reed
I’ve just listened to Golf Channel’s Rich Lerner and Brandel Chamblee vilify Patrick Reed for an entire recap show following the Farmers Insurance Open. I also watched and listened to all of CBS’ announcers do the same throughout their broadcast. All of this, even though the PGA Tour official exonerated Reed.

Later, in Saturday’s golf broadcast, I watched Rory McIlroy essentially do exactly what Reed did, except McIlroy did not call in an official. McIlroy was praised and Reed, basically, was accused of cheating. Saturday on Golf Channel, Chamblee actually accused Reed also of cleaning his ball, a violation. No one who was accusing Reed seemed to realize that nobody, including the volunteer marshal, saw the ball bounce (“Patrick Reed, golf’s No. 1 villain, strikes again on PGA Tour,” Feb. 1).

It was only after TV showed a replay that it was determined that Reed’s ball did not plug upon landing. McIlroy’s ball also bounced, but no one questioned that his was plugged. They simply guessed that it must have dropped back into the spot in which it landed. If no one saw Reed’s ball bounce – and they did not – he was well within the rules to lift it to check. McIlroy lifted his ball to check on it, too, and that’s also within the rules.

The PGA Tour declared Reed’s actions were within the rules. Lerner and Chamblee on Golf Channel and the entire CBS crew ignored the Tour, accused Reed, exonerated McIlroy and ruined a pleasant afternoon of watching a good competition and its recap. They simply wouldn’t let go. Chamblee and Lerner, on Golf Channel, just kept piling on.

Lou Body IV
Jacksonville, Fla.

Patrick Reed’s conduct puts Justin Thomas in new light
To say that I was flabbergasted by the anecdote that Gary Van Sickle shared about Patrick Reed berating his mother is a gigantic understatement (“Patrick Reed, golf’s No. 1 villain, strikes again on PGA Tour,” Feb. 1).

Reed really dropped the C-word on his mother? My 90-year-old mother is a saint, but had I or any of my three older brothers used any word of that sort in my mother’s direction, my father would have made sure that we were drinking our lunch through a straw for a few months. 

My jaw just hit the desk when I read it. Any guy who would do that is not someone with whom you want to be associated. Reed’s sponsors read that and must ask, Hmm, I wonder what kind of deal we can get with Justin Thomas?

It makes Thomas’ recent transgression seem pretty mild in comparison.

Joe Vanden Acker
Neenah, Wis.

We interrupt this Patrick Reed debate for a few words about CBS
I need to comment on something other than Patrick Reed: CBS' new innovation, the on-screen scoring all the time. It took me maybe four minutes not to like the all-the-time, on-screen scoreboard. The first time it interfered with a putt on the green, that was it for me. It is not necessary and overkill. Please remove it.

As a side note, CBS has covered golf since 1956, with only three producers – Frank Chirkinian, Lance Barrow and now Sellers Shy – in the entire history. It’s a great statement of longevity and amazing skill. Congrats to the network. Now, Mr. Shy, take early action on something that does not work.

Bob Geismar
Boca Raton, Fla.

These ‘villains’ are good
The PGA Tour has to be loving this incident with Patrick Reed (“Patrick Reed, golf’s No. 1 villain, strikes again on PGA Tour,” Feb. 1).

They’ve got their No. 1 heel in Reed. They’ve got polarizing figures in Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka, as well. No doubt this will get people to watch.

Individual sports need villains.

David Coleman 
Middleburg Heights, Ohio
(Coleman is a PGA of America member.)

Reed ‘can’t help himself’
Will Patrick Reed cheat again? Of course he will. It’s in his DNA. He can’t help himself (“Patrick Reed, golf’s No. 1 villain, strikes again on PGA Tour,” Feb. 1).

History keeps repeating, and we shouldn’t expect anything else. Keep the cameras on him and suspend him before a player decks him. 

Have fun in the Ryder Cup matches. 

Dick Greenwood
Bradenton, Fla.

Hogan or Mangrum would have fixed ‘sociopath’ Reed
Good piece by Gary Van Sickle, especially the first-person account of the amateur event (“Patrick Reed, golf’s No. 1 villain, strikes again on PGA Tour,” Feb. 1).

The PGA Tour seems to have a policy of omerta, which muzzles the players from speaking ill of their brethren. Sad. Or, are most of these guys too timid to have a confrontation?

Call me an old fart (I'm 75), but can you imagine how up-from-the-caddie-yards guys such as Ben Hogan or Lloyd Mangrum would have handled this? Patrick Reed would have been picking up teeth with a broken arm.

He should have been set down for a year after the Bahamas “shovel” incident. 

I'm no shrink, but I think the guy is a sociopath.

Al Jamieson
Burlingame, Calif.

‘Mr. Irrelevant’ fades again on Sunday
Well, once again I watch Rory McIlroy make his Sunday charge down the leaderboard. Is it just me, or are you tired of hearing his excuses after putting up another miserable Sunday performance?

I would love to see him once on Sunday act as if he really wanted to be there. His Sunday performance is so anticipated and getting old that he's becoming Mr. Irrelevant on Sunday.

Rory, it’s time to start putting up or you’re soon to find you are no longer part of the young-gun conversation. 

Robert Fish 
Sun Lakes, Ariz.

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