It's safe to say that Patrick Reed has been the talk of the town on the PGA Tour as of late, following his controversial rules incident at the Hero World Challenge. The American has received a lot of stick for his actions in the Bahamas, but on Sunday during the final round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions, Reed was praised for using the rules of golf to his advantage.
One of the most talked about stories from last week's tournament in Hawaii came from Reed's playoff against Justin Thomas, where a spectator yelled "CHEATER!" at Reed right after his putt for birdie.
Earlier that day, Reed had actually been praised by the Golf Channel broadcast team for cleverly using the rules of the sport to his advantage as he hunted down Thomas' lead.
Reed was in touching distance of tournament leader Thomas and was licking his lips after he found the par-5 15th in two, where an eagle would tie him for the lead.
The putt wasn't an easy one, with Reed having just missed the green and faced around six feet of fringe before his ball could smoothly roll on the dance floor, so Reed used his initiative and Golf Channel's on-course reporter Curt Byrum was at the scene to explain the situation.
“Here’s what happened,” Byrum said. “He has lift, clean and place. He was going to putt through about six feet of fringe, so with lift, clean and place it moved it closer to what I think is a valve cover right there. So then he was able to take relief from the valve cover, now he’s sitting two inches from the green, which eliminates a lot of the question mark as far as what it would do coming out of the fringe.”
Byrum also confirmed that Reed asked PGA Tour rules official John Munch to assess the situation and confirm what he was doing complied with the rules, which lead to an easier putt for the 29-year-old.
“He has a great look for eagle here,” Byrum continued. “It’s straighter, and it’s not going to be as quick because he’s putting a little bit back into the breeze as well. Just everything about it, it’s so makeable, especially for a guy putting this well.”
Commentator Mark Rolfing was quick to praise Reed for his actions: “You know, we have been talking Patrick Reed and rules being joined at the hip for really the last six weeks, but that was really using the rules to your advantage,” Rolfing said.
“Everybody thinks sometimes the rules work against you, but they also can work to your advantage, and that was a great example there. What he did was absolutely correct.”
Reed would go on to make a simple tap-in birdie, and moved right onto the heels of Thomas with three holes to play.
Unfortunately for Reed, he would lose out to Thomas in the playoff.