Patrick Reed claims he didn’t hear heckler yell ‘cheater’ at Kapalua

January 8, 2020
Patrick Reed plays a practice round prior to the 2020 Sony Open.

Are you sick of hearing about Patrick Reed yet? The star American golfer, currently ranked No. 11 in the World, has been dealing with the fallout from a rules violation since it occurred late last year.

Reed was caught on camera appearing to improve his lie in a waste bunker at the Hero World Challenge. He was penalized for the move after his round, but many observers alleged that his controversial violation was intentional. Cheating accusations have been hurled at Reed ever since, culminating in an incident at last week’s Tournament of Champions.

In the final round at Kapalua, Reed had an eight-foot potential tournament-winning putt in the playoff against Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele. Reed’s attempt missed badly, but when his ball was two feet from the hole, someone in the crowd screamed “Cheater!” at Reed.

The interjection was clearly audible on the broadcast, and Reed appeared to stare down the spectator after the putt missed. Golf Channel broadcaster Dan Hicks read it the same way.

“That was pretty unfortunate,” Hicks said. “You see Reed glaring up into the stands. Someone yelled as loud and as clear as day, ‘Cheater!’ as that ball was racing toward the hole.”

It turns out that Hicks and anyone else interpreting Reed’s glare got it wrong. On Tuesday, Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis caught up with Reed at the Sony Open in Hawaii. When asked about the incident, Reed told Lewis that he actually didn’t hear the fan at all.

As for his icy stare down, Reed clarified that he was staring at his caddie Kessler Karain, in disbelief that his putt was so far off.

Given how loud the “Cheater” shout was, it’s hard to believe Reed didn’t hear it. But TV broadcasts can be deceiving, as we have no idea where the mic that caught the moment was positioned. It very well could have been far from Reed and close to the spectator, making it seem like everyone heard it loud and clear.

Whatever the truth is, Reed will likely have to deal with rowdy spectators for some time to come. Australian fans aggressively heckled Reed at the Presidents Cup, which was played the week after the initial rules incident, and Reed responded with some theatrics of his own.

As Lewis points out in his report, the Tournament of Champions has some of the smallest galleries on the PGA Tour. Once the schedule turns to bigger, more popular events, things could get ugly.

Reed tees off for the first round at the Sony Open on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. ET.

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