Tree-gate takes EXPLOSIVE twist with comment from Patrick Reed's playing partner

Patrick Reed's playing partner during the Hero Dubai Desert Classic has cast doubt on how the American LIV Golf player marks his golf ball.

Ben Smith's picture
Mon, 30 Jan 2023
Tree-gate takes EXPLOSIVE twist with comment from Patrick Reed's playing partner

The mystery around Patrick Reed's latest rules fiasco has taken another turn. 

That is because one of Reed's playing partners, England's Matt Wallace, has reportedly cast doubt on how the American LIV Golf player marks his ball.

Wallace was grouped with Reed, 32, and Julien Brun during the third round of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic when the drama unfolded on the 17th hole. 

Related: Reed hails "small victory" over McIlroy

On Sunday, Reed escaped the hole with only a bogey and avoided having to go back to the tee box. 

The 2018 Masters champion identified his golf ball using a pair of binoculars. 

His Titleist ProV1 got lodged in a tree on the right hand side of the fairway. Rory McIlroy was watching the drama unfold in the group behind.

Reed said that he marked his golf ball with a black line with an arrow. Reed told the official he was "100 per cent sure" he had spotted his ball.

But Wallace, 32, is said to have told a group of reporters in Dubai:

"He said to me he uses only Titleist [ProV1] 3s with a red dot and a black line and that is the last I am going to say on it."

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Wallace did not elaborate. 

What happened exactly?

Reed was able to take a penalty drop after identifying his golf ball that was lodged in a tree.

Without identification, he would have had to go back to the tee box. 

Examining the footage, it appeared Reed's ball landed in a different tree to the one he was looking in. 

Social media, of course, burst into life after his rivalry with the aforementioned McIlroy intensified earlier in the week

Reed has also been accused of cheating in the past. The bogey kept him in contention in the tournament. 

McIlroy later pipped Reed by one stroke with two closing birdies to claim the Rolex Series event

Reed said he would have gone back to the tee had he not been sure. The situation was more complex as a number of golf balls were also stuck in the tree.

In a statement, the DP World Tour clarified:

"Two on-course referees and several marshals identified that Patrick Reed's ball had become lodged in a specific tree following his tee shot on 17.
"The DP World Tour chief referee joined the player in the area and asked him to identify his distinctive ball markings. Using binoculars, the chief referee was satisfied that a ball with those markings was lodged in the tree.
"The player subsequently took an unplayable penalty drop (Rule 19.2c) at the point directly below the ball on the ground. To clarify, the player was not asked to specify the tree but to identify his distinctive ball markings to confirm it was his ball.

McIlroy said of the situation:

"If it had been anyone else, it's a nonissue, right. I felt it was fine. Kev Feeney is a really experienced referee out here and he's not going to do anything wrong. Because of certain things in the past, people brought some stuff up, which is maybe unfair in some ways. Again, I don't feel like he was trying to get any advantage."

Next page: Pro rips Reed over latest rules controversy