DUBAI, U.A.E. — Adding yet another entry to the long list of Patrick Reed’s brushes with the Rules of Golf, the former Masters champion found himself involved in what turned into an unusual discussion/decision when playing the 17th hole at the Emirates Club during the Sunday’s third round of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic.
Specifically, Reed’s ball off the tee became lodged high in a tree right of the 17th fairway. Making things more difficult is that there were perhaps four or five other balls stuck in the same tree. Accompanied by the European Tour Chief Referee Kevin Feeney, Reed used binoculars to find what he said was his ball, insisting with 100 percent certainty he was able to identify it in the tree per Rule 7.2. Given that information, Feeney allowed Reed to drop directly below the ball, taking a one-stroke penalty under the rule for an unplayable ball (Rule 19.2c). Reed subsequently made a bogey 5 on the hole.
“I got lucky that we were able to look through the binoculars,” said Reed at the end his round of 69 that left him on 11 under par and four shots back of the 54-hole leader, Rory McIlroy. “You have to make sure it’s your ball. How I mark my golf balls is I always put an arrow on the end of my line, because (on) the Pro VI, the arrow on the end stops before it so you can see the arrow. You could definitely see and identify the line with the arrow on the end. The rules official luckily was there to reconfirm and check it to make sure it was mine as well.”
Asked if he was “100 percent” sure that it was his ball he had identified, Reed replied: “I would have gone back to the tee if I wasn’t 100 percent.” Had he not been able to identify his ball, it would have been declared lost and Reed would have had to return to the tee to play his third shot.
Later, after seeing video of the shot, the question arose as to whether the tree Reed was looking at was actually the tree into which Reed’s ball was headed. But, as above, Reed insisted that with 100 percent certainty he was able to identify his ball in the tree and eventually DP World Tour officials concurred, issuing a statement to confirm as much:
“During round three of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic, 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.”
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