Mystery around tree-gate continues after comments from Patrick Reed’s playing partner
First tee-gate, now tree-gate! Patrick Reed’s playing partner Matt Wallace offers a different description of the ball that the American said he saw in the Dubai trees… after footage appears to show the ball WASN’T where he claimed
The mystery around ‘tree-gate’ deepened on Monday after one of Patrick Reed’s playing partners appeared to offer a different description of the ball the American claimed he found in palm branches during his third round at the Dubai Desert Classic.
Reed took a penalty drop adjacent to a tree on the 17th after satisfying the chief tournament referee that he could identify distinctive markings on the ball – in this case, an ‘arrow’ he described on the end of the line that appears on a Titleist ProV1.
Without that definitive identification, he would have had to return to take his penalty from the tee.
Patrick Reed claimed he found his ball in palm branches at the Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday
Footage from NBC though appears to show Reed’s shot hitting a different tree than the one where he spotted his ball
Matt Wallace offered a different description of the ball to what Reed said he found in the tree
The issue has drawn attention because television footage seemingly shows Reed’s shot hitting a different tree than the one where he spotted his ball, with Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee tweeting: ‘I’ve seen many a player guess wrong at the place their ball entered a penalty area (and they almost always get the benefit of doubt) but I can’t say I’ve ever seen a player find their ball in a tree that video clearly shows it didn’t fly into.’
One of Reed’s playing partners on Sunday, Matt Wallace, was asked by reporters if the former Masters champion had shown him his ball and its markings ahead of the round, as is the norm.
Wallace said: ‘He said to me he uses only Titleist (ProV1) 3s with a red dot and a black line and that is the last I am going to say on it.’
On Sunday, in the wake of the incident, Reed said: ‘You could definitely see and identify the line with the arrow on the end, and the rules official was there to reconfirm and check it to make sure it was mine as well.’
Reed (behind the tree) used binoculars to claim that he could spot his ball in a palm tree
Reed (right) pictured with a tournament official who also looked through binoculars at the tree
Reed’s version was supported by tournament officials on Sunday. A DP World Tour statement read: ‘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.
‘Using binoculars, the chief referee was satisfied that a ball with those markings was lodged in the tree.
‘To clarify, the player was not asked to specify the tree but to identify his distinctive ball markings to confirm it was his ball.’
On Monday, having held off a charge from Reed to win the tournament, Rory McIlroy defended his rival, with whom he had fallen out last week.
McIlroy said: ‘If it had been anyone else, it’s a nonissue, right. I felt it was fine. Kev Feeney is a really experienced referee out here and he’s not going to do anything wrong. Because of certain things in the past, people brought some stuff up, which is maybe unfair in some ways. Again, I don’t feel like he was trying to get any advantage.’
Patrick Reed finished just one shot behind Rory McIlroy who won the Dubai Desert Classic
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