6th November 2014
Patrick Reed sure likes making the news at these WGC events – and not always for his golf !
First up back in March he famously described himself as “one of the top 5 players in the world”. To be fair he had just become the youngest winner of a WGC Championship, the Cadillac aged 23 at a Trump-revamped Doral, and no doubt was feeling pretty good about himself. Although in his defence he also backed it up by reminding everyone of his stellar amateur US college career at Augusta State and his two other recent Pro wins. “I don’t see a lot of guys that have done that besides Tiger Woods and the legends of the game,” he went on. The words have haunted him since although his strong performance at the recent Ryder Cup again made people take note.
Today he raised the bar a little higher. At the WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai he was caught swearing and using homophobic language after three-putting his first hole, the 10th. As the video below shows the on course microphones clearly picked him up berating himself with the words “Nice f***ing three-putt you f***ing faggot.”
There were very few spectators about and no doubt only a few of those that were in the vicinity spoke English.
TV commentators apologised and later on The PGA Tour issued a statement saying: “The PGA Tour Conduct Unbecoming regulations prohibit the use of obscene language on the golf course. The PGA Tour will deal with this matter internally in accordance with its regulations.”
The matter will again bring into focus The Tour’s longstanding policy of not disclosing any player fines or suspensions for conduct or language. This lack of transparency makes it hard for the public to gauge the penalties applied and the consistency of the approaches adopted. No doubt we can all recall instances where Tiger Woods, and for that matter many other Pro golfers, have sworn badly on camera.
After being made aware of the incident Patrick Reed quickly apologised via his recently established twitter account – @PReedGolf. His 7th tweet read: –
Whilst the image of golf is important and millions of golf fans around the world will have been watching it does seem a little harsh to me to call a guy up for swearing at himself. Reed knows he behaved poorly, understands his responsibilities to the game and was quick to apologise. Whilst we will never know how the Tour ends up dealing with the incident I certainly don’t believe an excessive punishment is warranted. A reprimand and perhaps a fine is all that is needed.
If anything it is a good reminder to all golfers that we must try harder not to allow our frustrations to get the better of us and to try our best not to swear on the course. Often far easier said than done.
Copyright © 2014, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.