Captain defends Reed from cheating claims

Sports | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 11 Dec 2019

Attempting to draw a line under a golf cheating controversy, US captain Tiger Woods defended Presidents Cup teammate Patrick Reed as "a great kid" yesterday after he was penalized for breaking the rules in the Bahamas.

Former Masters champion Reed was given a two-shot penalty for improving his lie in a bunker in the third round of the Hero World Challenge on Friday.

His actions were blasted by two of the International side preparing to face the Woods-led United States in the team matchplay showdown at Royal Melbourne this week.

Cameron Smith said he has "no sympathy for anyone that cheats," while Marc Leishman called Reed's behavior "pretty ordinary."

Woods was keen to move on from the row when pressed in Melbourne, admitting he discussed the matter with Reed on the long flight to Australia from the Bahamas.

"It was not a lengthy conversation," said Woods, the first playing captain at the Presidents Cup since American Hale Irwin in 1994.

Despite the prospect of a volatile reception in Melbourne, Woods insisted Reed would be "fine" when the tournament begins tomorrow.

"Pat is a great kid," he said. "He's one of our best team players and is one of the reasons why all of the guys wanted him on the team."

Reed admitted he moved sand with two practice swings but denied he was a cheat. "It's not the right word to use," he said. "At the end of the day if you do something unintentionally that breaks the rules it's not considered cheating."

The US team are heavy favorites to win against Ernie Els' International team. They have clinched all but one edition of the Presidents Cup in its 25-year history. The exception was at Royal Melbourne in 1998.

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