DP World Tour Referee Statement Issued After Patrick Reed Tree Ruling

Tournament officials have given a statement on the Patrick Reed ruling that saw his ball stuck in a palm tree

Reed grimaces as he watches his approach shot
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Following a controversial moment that saw Patrick Reed take a penalty drop from the wrong tree during the third round of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic, tournament officials have released a statement explaining the situation.

In the release, it is stated that: "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. 

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"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 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."

For context, Reed was playing the driveable 17th hole at Emirates GC when, after striking his tee shot, the ball sailed towards the green. However, as it started to fall, it made impact with one of the palm trees that run alongside the hole, with the ball appearing to not drop down.

As the camera panned back to the action, Reed was seen talking to a rules official, as they both used a set of binoculars to identify the golf ball that had been lodged in the stump. However, after the American identified it and took the drop, it was soon revealed by Sky Sports that the tree he dropped from was not the tree the ball had made impact with.

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Instead, the tree that Reed hit was slightly to the right of the one he took the drop from. It is worth noting that the tee shot on the 17th is completely unsighted, so it is highly likely that the 32-year-old would have been told which tree he struck with his drive.

Making a birdie at the last, Reed sits in a big logjam at 11-under-par, with the American trailing Rory McIlroy by four shots going into the final round. The two have already clashed this week, with the duo involved in a slightly tense exchange, which resulted in Reed reportedly tossing a tee in McIlroy's direction.

Matt Cradock
Staff Writer

Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.

Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.

Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?

Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°

Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°

Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°

Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x