Patrick Reed wins at Torrey Pines, but another cloud comes with it

Patrick Reed wins at Torrey Pines, but another cloud comes with it

If golf fans want to obsess on Patrick Reed’s latest collision with controversy, it’s partially his fault.

Reed left little else to discuss after his methodical, five-stroke victory at the Farmers Insurance Open on Sunday at Torrey Pines.

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    Patrick Reed, right, signals for an official in front of Carlos Ortiz, of Mexico, on the 16th hole on the South Course during the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

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    Patrick Reed hits from a bunker toward the 14th hole on the South Course during the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

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    Patrick Reed reacts after making his putt for par on the 14th hole on the South Course during the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

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    Patrick Reed hits his tee shot on the 6th hole during the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines South on January 31, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

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    Sam Burns congratulates Patrick Reed after the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines South on January 31, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

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    Patrick Reed hits toward the fourth green on the South Course during the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

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    Patrick Reed reacts after his shot toward the tenth fairway on the South Course during the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

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    Sam Burns hits his tee shot on the 5th hole during the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines South on January 31, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

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    Patrick Reed stands on the South Course while holding his trophy for winning the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

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    Patrick Reed stands on the South Course while holding his trophy for winning the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

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    Patrick Reed celebrates with the trophy after winning the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines South on January 31, 2021 in San Diego, California. Reed won by five strokes over the field shooting a 68 in the final round. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

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    Xander Schauffele hits his tee shot on the 2nd hole during the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines South on January 31, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

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    Ryan Palmer hits from the bunker on the 1st hole during the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines South on January 31, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

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    Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, hits out of a bunker to the 13th green on the South Course during the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

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    Carlos Ortiz hits his tee shot on the 7th hole during the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines South on January 31, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

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    Robby Shelton hits from the bunker on the 5th hole during the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines South on January 31, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

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    Adam Scott stands on the 4th hole green during the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines South on January 31, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

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Reed’s consistency ground down all contenders in the first 12 holes except for 23-year-old Viktor Hovland. Then Hovland bogeyed the 14th when he jerked his tee shot into the left bushes, and did the same on 15 when his drive nestled against a tree. Reed, in the process of parring every hole from 10 through 17, took a 3-stroke lead.

Reed shot four-under-par 68 to reach 14-under. Hovland tied for second with Ryan Palmer, Xander Schauffele, Tony Finau and Henrik Norlander.

Reed won for the ninth time on the PGA Tour and the fourth time in the past four seasons.

“I had some crucial up and downs on 14 and 15 and then I had to make a couple of solid driver swings on 17 and 18,” Reed said. “I’ve changed my swing and it was nice to settle into those new feelings.”

But Reed did not silence the chorus that arose on Saturday when, again, he seemed to run afoul of the rules of golf.

Reed’s second shot on the 10th hole bounced in the left rough and plunged into the wet ground. When Reed got there, he asked observers if the ball had bounced, and when he was told it hadn’t, he picked it up and set it aside.

Eventually the 2018 Masters champion called Brad Fabel, a PGA Tour rules official who ruled that the ball was indeed embedded and that Reed deserved a free drop. CBS golf commentators, among others, criticized Reed for moving the ball before Fabel showed up.

But no penalty was assessed when Reed and the authorities watched a replay in the scorer’s tent, and Fabel said Reed was not required to call him.

“I would not create a situation like that,” said Schauffele, who carded his seventh runner-up finish since his last victory (January of 2019).

“If my ball’s embedded, I usually will wait and call someone and wait until everyone’s on the same page. Obviously the talk amongst the boys isn’t great, but he’s protected by the (PGA) Tour and I guess that’s all that matters.”

On the 18th hole Rory McIlroy did virtually the same thing from an embedded lie after his ball made a smaller bounce and did not call a rules official, which Reed acidly cited in a tweet. “End of story,” Reed pronounced.

But it wasn’t the beginning of the story. Reed got a 2-stroke penalty at the Hero World Challenge in 2019 for moving sand behind his ball to improve his lie, an infraction he did not call on himself. He also brought that reputation from his college career at Augusta State.

“Last night was normal for me,” Reed said. “Once the officials said we had done everything correctly, that puts it to bed.”

Reed built his career on the way he handled stress and saved par from sticky greenside situations. Last fall he began working with David Leadbetter to find more of a tee-to-green foundation.

“I don’t always want to rely on my short game so much,” he said. “Instead of having it save me, I want to use it as a weapon. It’s easy to make quality swings on the driving range, but it’s different on a demanding course like this.”

The course will be more demanding in June when it plays host to the U.S. Open.

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Author: Mark Whicker

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