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‘He has set the benchmark for golf villains’ | Shane Ryan on Patrick Reed

Eoin Harte
Eoin Harte

09:49 7 Jan 2020

Nobody has ever come close to being as disliked as Patrick Reed in golf history, according to golf writer Shane Ryan.

The author of ‘Slaying the Tiger’ was on Off The Ball and spoke about the controversy surrounding Reed after he appeared to move sand away from his ball at the World Hero Challenge in December.

It’s a waste area so you can ground your club, so that wasn’t illegal, but you certainly can’t move sand that’s inconveniently in front of your ball. So it seemed like there was intent.

“If you’re asking what I believe, I definitely think he cheated on purpose. Not everybody agrees with that but that’s my belief.

“There was absolutely no accountability from him or from anyone else and what was really interesting was the President’s Cup happened just the next week.

“So it was a really weird timing situation where his teammates in the President’s Cup all of a sudden had to broadcast this solidarity with him - or choose to call him out. But they all chose to toe the line,” Ryan said.

Reed has been the subject of intense scrutiny from golf fans, with one fan shouting out, ‘cheater’ when the American was taking a shot at the Sentry Tournament of Champions on Sunday.

Ryan believes this may only be the beginning of Reed receiving abuse from fans and that he has reached a level of notoriety achieved by no one else in the golf world.

“I don’t think anybody’s really come close [to being as disliked]. Look, Patrick Reed has had a really complicated past but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a reaction to somebody winning a big tournament like the Masters like we saw with his reaction.

“The immediate story in the aftermath became about his parents and his past and, ‘Hey, why don’t people like Patrick Reed?’ At a time, by all rights, he should have been celebrated as somebody who just earned himself some golf immortality.

“I just don’t think there’s an analogue, period. I can’t even begin to think of anyone who would come close. He’s not yet 30 and he’s already set the mark for golf villains,” Ryan said.

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