From The Inbox

Patrick Reed’s missed opportunity

‘Cloud of questionability’ forms early as Reed manipulates more than the ground near his so-called embedded ball, reader contends

In response to Alex Miceli’s recent article in Morning Read (“Is it time to cut Patrick Reed some slack?” Feb. 4), I can't help but notice one thing: Though Patrick Reed might have done nothing wrong, he appears to have missed an opportunity to do something right.

During each of Reed’s post-round interviews on the weekend at the Farmers Insurance Open, he referenced officials, other players and volunteers. In a game considered gentlemanly due, in part, to players’ calling fouls on themselves, why didn’t Reed do so? Asking a volunteer whether the ball bounced does only one thing: It confirms whether the volunteer saw it do so.

One has to wonder, Why was that the question Reed asked? If he received an emphatic response, which he did, is that confirmation of an embedded ball? It isn't. It's not confirmation of anything.

What would Reed’s actions have been had the volunteer or anyone else said, “Yes, it did bounce”? That, for me, is where the cloud of questionability began to form.

Furthermore, when he called an official over, Reed immediately led the witness in terms of what he wanted a ruling on, which was how to properly take a drop from an embedded ball. With millions of viewers watching his mic’d-up scenario, he'd have been better served asking the official to rule on the embedding, rather than on his subsequent actions.

I realize that Reed’s reputation might be a driving factor in how people see the infraction, and that we the viewers had the benefit of video replay. If Reed wants golf fans to see his actions as being within the lines of acceptability, he might want to consider how he conducts himself and not just point at the decisions that others have made for him.

Peter Lavelle

A week later, and still boiling
I know I’m a week late, but my blood has been boiling over the Patrick Reed drop (“Patrick Reed, golf’s No. 1 villain, strikes again on PGA Tour,” Feb. 1).

Once the rules official made his decision, which was confirmed by CBS’ new rules czar, is it necessary for the holier-than-thou talking heads to continue bashing Reed?

I thought of the 1999 Phoenix Open, when Tiger Woods moved a “loose impediment,” a massive boulder, with the help of 10 or so fans. I don’t recall the constant outrage then.

Finally, wasn’t the Reed incident reviewed at length after his round and deemed to be correct?

Ron Robert
Oak Forest, Ill.

Miceli gets it wrong
I disagree with Alex Miceli’s contention that Patrick Reed deserves a pass (“Is it time to cut Patrick Reed some slack?” Feb. 4)

I was watching the third round of the Farmers Insurance Open, and the first thing I thought was, Why is he picking the ball up?   The second thing I thought was, He pushed that ball into the ground!

When I heard Reed ask the volunteer whether she saw the ball bounce, she said no.

Everyone brushed over that she just didn’t see it bounce, not that it didn’t bounce. Plus, who picks up his ball and drops it away from the site where it was imbedded? Also, Reed palmed the ball.

Reed is a liar. I don’t care what he says; he’s a cheater. I couldn’t believe the PGA Tour rules official agreed that it was all OK after watching that video.   Plus, Rory McIlroy said a volunteer stepped on his ball on the 18th hole that same day, but he didn’t find that out until later. That’s like comparing apples and oranges. 

Kathy Wentworth
Portland, Ore.

Why can’t Miceli recognize what others see so clearly?
Alex Miceli embarrassed himself when he wrote that Patrick Reed did nothing wrong (“Is it time to cut Patrick Reed some slack?” Feb. 4).

If a player suspects that his ball has plugged, he never should pick it up without bringing his playing competitor over to confirm (or not) that it truly is embedded. Lacking agreement between players, an official then should be called in to give a ruling.

Again, this all should take place before the ball is lifted. But what did Reed do? He claims that he didn’t see the ball bounce, so he suspected it was embedded and then took the word of a marshal who said she didn’t see it bounce, either. But the video clearly shows it did bounce, all of about 2 feet high, before coming to rest. (And think of this: That’s about the height you are supposed to make a drop. Can you possibly imagine that causing a dropped ball to embed, no matter how wet the conditions might be?)

So, Reed takes the marshal’s word and proceeds to pick the ball up and then calls for a ruling. But before the official arrives, Reed fishes his finger around in the “hole” to make sure there is evidence for the official to agree with his contention.

This whole episode is so clearly obvious to other PGA Tour players and to everyone except Miceli. For Miceli, it does not do his reputation as a knowledgeable golf analyst any good at all.

John Gullatt
Austin, Texas

Reed hasn’t earned benefit of doubt
It is factual that Patrick Reed broke no rules of golf on the 10th hole in the third round at Torrey Pines (“Patrick Reed, golf’s No. 1 villain, strikes again on PGA Tour,” Feb. 1). The optics were not good, for sure, particularly because he was leading the tournament. But I still have a few issues:

– now that we know Rory McIlroy’s ball was stepped on in a similar situation that day at the 18th hole, any comparison is moot.

– how in the world could the volunteer say to Reed that she didn’t see the ball bounce?

– in my opinion, Reed approached his ball with the thought already in his mind that he was going to take a drop. Most golfers would check the lie, and if it looked sketchy, then ask the volunteer whether it bounced. Reed asked about a bounce before he even got to the ball, indicating to me that he already was scheming. 

– there is no way the ball was embedded, not after that bounce. We’ll never know whether he pushed the ball down before he picked it up, or whether there happened to be another depression in that same spot from earlier play. But if they felt a lip, or a break in the ground, it was not caused by Reed’s ball.

– having nothing to do with golf, the condescending tone in the way Reed spoke to rules official Brad Fabel was disrespectful, and a true sign of Reed’s character.

That anecdote was disgusting. There are multiple proven-by-video cheating violations, plus a few witnessed by former CBS announcer Peter Kostis, whom I tend to believe in this situation. There have been very few golfers whom I root against, but Reed is at the top of that list. 

No, he didn’t break any rules, but in several ways, he did reinforce the public opinion of his character, and he’s obviously not interested in improving his image. I’m not cutting him any slack, because he hasn’t earned it.

Gregg Cook
Mechanicsburg, Pa.

Even a ‘high-handicapper’ knows not to do what Reed did
I am a recreational high-handicapper, and I do not touch my golf ball without a witness (“Patrick Reed, golf’s No. 1 villain, strikes again on PGA Tour,” Feb. 1).

Golf cheats, which Patrick Reed is, are despicable. Reed is a cheat and a liar.

Dan Gould
Fresh Meadows, N.Y.

It’s too soon to cut Patrick Reed some slack
I liked Alex Miceli’s take on Patrick Reed (“Is it time to cut Patrick Reed some slack?” Feb. 4).

Not many are willing to give Reed any slack. I’m wondering whether after the news that Rory McIlroy’s ball was stepped on by a volunteer, that Miceli’s opinion that “Reed didn’t do anything wrong when he took a drop from an embedded ball” remains the same.

If a volunteer stepped on McIlroy’s ball, it more than likely was plugged.

Reed’s ball could not have been plugged, unless a mystery volunteer also stepped on it. Reed failed to get a rules official to examine the lie before touching his ball, and he has a history of cheating allegations. 

Reed did what he was required to do under the rules, but did he use the rules to his advantage to also cheat them by embedding his own ball with his own hand or breaking the surface when he picked it up?

When Reed starts to demonstrate his integrity for following the rules, then I think we can start to cut him some slack. 

Tyler Eastham
Yorktown, Va.

That’s good tone but bad logic, Miceli
I like his tone, but Alex Miceli is incorrect (“Is it time to cut Patrick Reed some slack?” Feb. 4).

We golfers know when a ball is embedded. Some volunteer walked on Rory McIlroy’s ball, which also happened during the third round of the Farmers Insurance Open. We all saw the video of Patrick Reed’s ball that Reed said was embedded.

I just hit my drive across the 400-yard lake and into the fairway, but the only person to see it was me.

Joe Hatch
Fountain Hills, Ariz.

Other than that …
I resent Patrick Reed only for the way he treats his parents (“Patrick Reed, golf’s No. 1 villain, strikes again on PGA Tour,” Feb. 1).

I enjoy his golf and his grit.

Terry Nau
Pawtucket, R.I.

A miracle, via the wonders of email
With the PGA Tour in the midst of a rather embarrassing rules fiasco and countless experts, columnists and announcers facing legitimate criticism for favoritism and double standards, along comes a curiously-timed email to save the day. 

Thank goodness an unnamed volunteer at the Farmers Insurance Open came forward (via email) to reveal that another unnamed volunteer stepped on Rory McIlroy's ball, thereby re-aligning the golf universe once again.

Everyone is off the hook ... except Patrick Reed.

It's a miracle!

Jim Westerman
Hanover Park, Ill

While our great-grandparents were young?
How much more time does the USGA need to discuss distance and golf ball issues? (“USGA, R&A advance distance discussion,” Feb. 3).

Back in August 1927, William Flynn published an essay in USGA Green Section Bulletin.

Below is an excerpt related to yardage from this almost 100-year-old essay that is remarkably apropos today:

"In view of this, the architect of today plans his full two-shot holes from 440 yards to 500 yards, depending on the character of the land and if the distance to be obtained with the ball continues to increase, it will be necessary to increase the length of all holes on golf courses accordingly if the same standards of play are to be maintained.

All architects will be a lot more comfortable when the powers that be in golf finally solve the ball problem.  A great deal of experimentation is now going on and it is to be hoped that before long a solution will be found to control the distance of the elusive pill."

Makes you wonder what the USGA has been doing.

Paul Pfeuffer
Raleigh, N.C.

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