It seems golf fans aren’t going to let Patrick Reed forget about a controversial incident during a tournament last month.
At the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii on Sunday, a heckler shouted “cheater” just before Reed missed an 8-foot birdie putt. The taunt was captured on video and made the rounds on social media.
“That was pretty unfortunate,” announcer Dan Hicks said of the heckler, according to the Golf Channel. “You see Reed glaring up into the stands. Someone yelled as loud and as clear as day, ‘Cheater!’ “
Reed lost the tournament, coming behind winner Justin Thomas.
“It’s all about winning,” Reed said after. “At the end of the day, I did what I had to do today, I mean, I went out and had to go shoot a low number — especially with how windy it was today — to give myself an opportunity, and I did … Unfortunately, I had two putts to close it, and one of them I got gusted on and this last one, with the wind and the break, it got me again.”
The 29-year-old 2018 Masters Champion did not address the heckler after the loss.
“It stings at the end whenever you don’t birdie for the win,” he said, according to the New York Post. “But really, I gave myself an opportunity. I put myself in [a] position to have a chance, and I needed a little bit of help at the end there, and they gave it to me, allowing me to even get in the playoff.”
The cheating accusation was likely referencing a controversial incident in December when Reed was caught moving sand from behind his ball at the Hero World Challenge, according to Yahoo News.
Cameras caught Reed removing the sand while taking two practice swings, but he later blamed a “bad camera angle” for the accusations. He suffered a two-stroke penalty, but some believed Reed should have been removed from the tournament.
Australian fans heckled Reed a week later at the Presidents Cup. The heckles were reportedly so intense that Reed’s caddie, Kessler Karain, was involved in a physical altercation with a fan, according to the Golf Channel.
Reed’s next showing will be at the Sony Open in Hawaii on January 9.