Patrick Reed hits back over Dubai Desert Classic rules 'non-issue' | 'Some people love controversy!'
Patrick Reed has addressed the ruling controversy at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic after his ball became lodged in a palm tree; the DP World Tour stays in the UAE this week for the Ras al Khaimah Championship, live on Sky Sports Golf on Thursday from 8.30am
Last Updated: 31/01/23 9:25pm
Patrick Reed has hit back after he was involved in a controversial rules incident during the third round of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic when his ball was lost up a palm tree.
On the penultimate hole of the day, Reed saw his tee shot on the driveable par-four 17th finish lodged in a palm tree, with the LIV Golf member and rules officials using binoculars to try and identify his ball from the markings he uses.
The American said he was "100 per cent certain" that the ball identified was his, enabling him to take a penalty drop near the base of the tree instead of having to return to the tee, although TV replays appeared to show the tee shot finished in a different tree to the one Reed thought his ball was in.
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Reed eventually salvaged a bogey before bouncing back with a final-hole birdie to take him back to 11 under and in contention for the win heading into the final day, which led to huge debate over the ruling, with the DP World Tour releasing a statement to clarify the situation.
The DP World Tour statement on the ruling:
"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."
Although Reed did not go on to win the tournament, with Rory McIlroy carding a 68 to beat his rival by one stroke, the American has since released a statement on social media to address the "non-issue", suggesting it is time to get back to playing golf.
"Some people love controversy," Reed said.
"But what happened on the 17th hole at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic was a non-issue.
"As the DP World Tour confirmed, I was not asked to identify the tree my ball struck (that was done by ShotLink volunteers and several marshals), I was asked to describe the distinctive markings on the ball I was playing.
"I am looking forward to this week's Asian Tour flagship event at Royal Greens."
Reed has also been defended by McIlroy over the incident, the Northern Irishman saying Reed was not trying to gain an advantage and he was being judged harshly due to ruling controversies in the past.
"I felt it was fine," McIlroy said. "If it had been anyone else in the field it would have been a non-issue, but because of certain things in the past, people bring stuff up, which is maybe unfair in some ways.
"But it is what it is. I've stood and defended Patrick in some of the controversies. I don't feel like he was trying to get any advantage."
Speaking during Sky Sports' coverage of the third round, Dame Laura Davies said about the incident: "We said at the time we don't know where it had gone and the reason being that it went into the first tree. I think the video evidence would suggest that [they were in the wrong tree].
"The trajectory is wrong for that third tree, the far left one, so I think it has gone into the first tree. There's a lot of balls in that tree and a lot of people use the same brand that Reed uses.
"Reed has been very unlucky here because he has found the ball he plays, the number he plays with a similar black line - it would appear with the evidence it has gone in the first tree and couldn't have actually been his. He has been incredibly unfortunate and been told the wrong tree.
"He has done everything he could in that he has identified what he thought was his ball, but it looks like it wasn't his ball with the video evidence. It's just an unfortunate thing and I don't know what you do about it really."
The DP World Tour stays in the UAE this week for the Ras al Khaimah Championship, live on Sky Sports Golf on Thursday from 8.30am, while many of last week's field - including the LIV Golf contingent - head to Saudi Arabia for the Asian Tour's PIF Saudi International.
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