Patrick Reed '100%' Confident Of Ruling Amid Tree Controversy

During the third round, Reed found his golf ball wedged in the trunk of a palm tree, but it appeared that he found it in the wrong tree

Reed stands by while a Rules Official looks up the tree with binocularsj
(Image credit: Twitter: @AlliFitz)

Prior to the start of the Dubai Desert Classic, Patrick Reed and Rory McIlroy were involved in a slightly tense exchange, which resulted in Reed reportedly tossing a tee in McIlroy's direction.

Despite the drama, both find themselves near the top of the leaderboard, or in Rory's case, at the top of the leaderboard. However, it was Reed who was involved in a bizarre and controversial incident at the driveable par 4 17th, when his ball found one of the many palm trees surrounding the green.

Reed hits a tee shot off the eight tee in Dubai

Reed sits in a tie for fourth and four shots back of leader, McIlroy

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Going for the green, the American's drive flew towards the target before seemingly making impact with a trio of palm trees. Arriving at the scene, Reed was then reportedly told by marshals which tree it had gone into, with the LIV golfer forced to use a pair of binoculars to find and identify his golf ball.

Unsighted from off the tee, Reed wouldn't have known which tree the ball struck and, after a conversation with the Rules Official on site, Reed stated that he could "definitely see the markings on my ball”, with the American taking a penalty drop and carding a bogey.

However, on Sky Sports after the third round's play had ended, it appeared that, on the video, his tee shot actually found the first tree and not the one that was further up. Therefore, it was unlikely to be the tee shot that Reed confirmed was in the tree.

Speaking on Sky Sports, Nick Dougherty and Laura Davies spoke about the incident, with Dougherty stating: "What Patrick said himself is that he couldn't actually see those trees and you can't from that tee box, but when you look at this footage there is a slight concern that the tree that the ball entered was not the one from where he took the drop."

Adding on to Dougherty's comments, Davies stated "it looked to be a perfect drive and an inch either side he is probably on the front of the green, but we said at the time we don't know where that has gone and the reason being it went into that first tree and that's the key." 

Following the footage, which shows Reed identifying and taking a drop, Davies explains that: "There's a lot of golf balls in that tree and a lot of people use the same brand that Patrick uses and you couldn't 100% tell whether he said a number, but he has found his manufacturer's ball... Patrick Reed has been very unlucky here. He's found a ball that he plays, the number he plays with obviously a similar black line, as it appears with the evidence first thing. 

"He's been incredibly unfortunate and he's been told the wrong tree to look in, for a kickoff. Kevin (Rules Official) has done everything right and Patrick has done everything he can do in that he's identified what he thought was his ball, but it looks like it wasn't his ball with the video evidence."

What was Reed's reaction to all of this? Well, after his round when asked if he thought it was his ball, he responded by saying “100 percent,” before adding “I would have gone back to the tee if I wasn’t 100 percent… I got lucky that we were able to look through the binoculars and you have to make sure it’s your ball and how I mark my golf balls is I always put an arrow on the end of my line because, on the Pro V1 the arrow on the end stops before it, so you can see the arrow. 

“And you could definitely see and identify the line with the arrow on the end, and the rules official, luckily, was there to reconfirm and check it to make sure it was mine as well.”

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