From The Inbox

Patrick Reed needs to be honest with himself

With such a checkered history, Reed ought to face his past before expecting to get any slack in the future, reader contends

It’s always a positive experience to cut another person some slack. It’s even nice simply to make that suggestion (“Is it time to cut Patrick Reed some slack?” Feb. 4).

However, for good or for bad, we all have histories, and these histories are significant in construction of the way we all are seen. Patrick Reed brings with him a checkered past, including that of being a very good golfer. His family, his college career and his PGA Tour time all brought us last weekend (“Patrick Reed, golf’s No. 1 villain, strikes again on PGA Tour,” Feb. 1)

Reed needs to step up and face it all, if he ever wants a break.

Allan Feldman
Mount Gretna, Pa.

Reed and Miceli both get it wrong
You're wrong again, Alex Miceli (“Is it time to cut Patrick Reed some slack?” Feb. 4).

Though Patrick Reed may have been exonerated by PGA Tour rules official Brad Fabel, a former touring professional, the fact remains that Reed should have followed normal procedures and first conferred with his fellow players before lifting his ball. Then, if there had been any doubt about the ball being embedded, he should have called for an official, as I've seen numerous times.

To make his own decision in an unclear situation is highly irregular and inappropriate. To me, it smacks of trying to get away with something.

Norm Amyot
Melbourne, Fla. 

Reed gets it right, and so does Miceli
I agree with Alex Miceli (“Is it time to cut Patrick Reed some slack?” Feb. 4).

Regardless of the past, Patrick Reed did nothing wrong in this case. But it seems as if most, if not all, of what is being said by those who are critical of how he handled this situation seem to be about trying to ascribe certain motivations to his actions. Such as, they can read his mind.

Imagine if how Reed and Rory McIlroy handled their situations had been reversed. That is, Reed just took a drop, and McIlroy called in a rules official. You can bet everyone would be criticizing Reed for not doing that.

Mark Liquorman
Land O’ Lakes, Fla.

Miceli misses this one
Alex Miceli has a lot of great takes, but this one is off (“Is it time to cut Patrick Reed some slack?” Feb. 5).

I caddied on the PGA Tour for more than 29 years, or 1,000-plus tournaments. Patrick Reed wasn’t even close in the way he handled his drop Saturday at Torrey Pines (“Patrick Reed, golf’s No. 1 villain, strikes again on PGA Tour,” Feb. 1).

This is why TV commentators Nick Faldo, Frank Nobilo and Brandel Chamblee all came out so strongly. In this situation, as a caddie, I would have called the official as soon as I walked up to the ball, as I would be thinking it might be plugged. Officials can help quite a bit with the proper drop; they are pros.

For Reed to pull the ball out of the spot is simply not proper. That is why the official, Brad Fabel, had such a look of shock.

I’d bet that if you asked Fabel how many times he has seen a player move a ball before an official arrives, he would answer zero.

For Reed to poke his finger around the area, wow. I can’t even imagine.

Dan McQuilken
Brielle, N.J.

Just a bunch of two-faced blathering
TV commentators Rich Lerner, Nick Faldo, Dottie Pepper, Jim Nantz and Brandel Chamblee should all have a swift kick you-know-where for their claims of cheating by Patrick Reed but nary a word about the exact same thing from Rory McIlroy (“Patrick Reed, golf’s No. 1 villain, strikes again on PGA Tour,” Feb. 1). Talk about them all being two-faced. It’s another reason I dislike the entire crew and shut off the sound during their blathering.

Reed at least called in an official, who agreed and made the call. Are these announcers saying that PGA Tour rules official Brad Fabel was cheating on the call?

I used to like Pepper, but she's a little suspect now. If the others disappeared, it would be a definite improvement on the telecasts.

Michael Merrill
McKinney, Texas

Looking beyond the ‘bad optics’
If Patrick Reed hadn’t asked the spotter, who apparently was looking at her cellphone, or called the rules official, who also seemed to be in outer space, then, yes, picking up his ball and taking a drop, although legal, would look bad. But, bad optics doesn’t make him a cheater (“Patrick Reed, golf’s No. 1 villain, strikes again on PGA Tour,” Feb. 1).

These pros have been playing golf since wearing knickers, yet they never seem to make a decision without a rules official, making it terribly boring to watch and contributing to the excruciating slow pace.

An embedded ball is a player’s call; that’s the problem (Rule 16.3). In a similar situation, Rory McIlroy declared his ball to be embedded, and there was no problem. When Reed does it, all hell breaks loose.

If the PGA Tour had any intestinal fortitude, it would add to the rule the necessity to have a playing competitor concur – or an official, if one were handy.

All of the pontificating by Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee is nonsense.

Larry Ashe
Chicago

2 questions begging for answers
I viewed the incident in question regarding Patrick Reed several times and have two questions (“Patrick Reed, golf’s No. 1 villain, strikes again on PGA Tour,” Feb. 1):

1. Why did Reed not consult with his playing competitor?

2. Why did Reed not ask for a rules official to have a look?

These questions are based on the appearance of Reed’s actions as to the Rules of Golf.

Ken Young 
Indian Trail, N.C.

Tell the hawks and their cameras to skedaddle
I just read Gary Van Sickle’s story about Patrick Reed (“Patrick Reed, golf’s No. 1 villain, strikes again on PGA Tour,” Feb. 1). Maybe his ball did bounce, but Reed asked his playing competitors, caddies, and marshals, and they all said they didn't see it bounce. He was cleared by the PGA Tour rules official, and play continued.

Now, I understand, that Rory McIlroy did something similar with an embedded ball. He told his playing competitors the ball was embedded and he was going to pick it up, they said OK and no rules official was called. McIlroy picked it up, took a drop, and play continued. No problem, no news alert, and certainly no one declaring McIlroy to be golf's No. 1 enemy.

Maybe if Van Sickle and others would stop raising Reed’s missteps over and over, all of this contention would die down. And you wouldn't have to, as analyst Paul Azinger said, “watch him like a hawk with the cameras.”

Barbara Wajbel 
Baltimore

Hey, USGA and R&A: We want more distance, not less
Golf’s ruling bodies, the USGA and R&A, have come out of their slumber and – egads! – are going to continue the discussions and study on the distance/ball too far issue (“USGA, R&A advance distance discussion,” Feb. 3). Do they have any finger on the pulse of the vast majority of the golfers who seek more distance?

The only people who have an issue with distance are these august ruling bodies and those curmudgeons out there who are concerned that the iconic golf courses are being bludgeoned.

Rory McIlroy said it concisely and logically. Essentially, the USGA and R&A are ignoring the people who enjoy the game and pay the bills.

Dave Richner
St. Johns, Fla.

Remove all doubt
There’s a way that we can avoid all this “he said, he said.” Just make a new rule that reads, If you think your ball is embedded, then you must call a rules official or your fellow competitor to look at your lie to confirm that your ball is embedded.

There’s a rule that states, if a player has a golf ball that he thinks has been damaged during play, he should show a fellow competitor the ball to see whether the ball actually is damaged so the player can take it out of play and replace the ball (Rule 4.2c). What’s the difference? Just take all doubt out of the situation and ask another player or a rules official whether he thinks your ball is embedded, then move on. It’s not that hard. 

Layne Yawn
Jonesboro, Ark.

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