MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Patrick Reed’s caddie was involved in an altercation with a spectator at the Presidents Cup on Saturday after the American golfer suffered his third straight defeat at the event.
FILE PHOTO: Golf – European Tour – BMW PGA Championship – Wentworth Golf Club, Virginia Water, Britain – September 20, 2019 Patrick Reed of the U.S. in action during the second round Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs
Reed has been heckled throughout at Royal Melbourne following his controversial penalty in the Bahamas last week where he was docked two strokes for improving his lie in a waste bunker.
Golf Channel reported that Saturday’s incident occurred after Reed and his playing partner Webb Simpson were thrashed 5&3 in the morning fourballs.
The broadcaster said Reed’s caddie Kessler Karain, who is also his brother-in-law, had confronted a fan as he and Reed were driving a golf cart following the match.
A video posted on Twitter showed Karain gesturing angrily near a temporary seating terrace at the course before turning to board a golf cart and drive off with Reed.
Golf podcast Fore Play posted a statement from Karain on social media saying a fan had shouted an expletive at Reed from “about three feet away”.
“I got off the cart and shoved him, said a couple things, probably a few expletives,” the statement said.
“Security came and I got back in cart and left. … the most harm done was a little spilled beer, which I’m happy to reimburse him for.”
A spokesman for the PGA Tour said they would issue a statement on the incident later on Saturday.
Before Reed arrived in Melbourne, players on the Ernie Els-captained International team urged local crowds to give him a hard time, with Australian golfer Cameron Smith accusing the American of “cheating the rules”.
In a pre-tournament media conference, Reed denied cheating and said he had inadvertently breached the rule.
Some spectators have brought miniature shovels to the course and waved them at Reed. Others have worn shirts branding him “The Excavator”.
Reed responded to the heckling on Friday by making a shoveling gesture with his putter after holing a birdie.
Despite Reed and Simpson losing in Thursday’s fourballs and the foursomes on day two, the pairing were given another chance by captain Tiger Woods on Saturday morning but were well beaten by East Asian aces Hideki Matsuyama and C.T. Pan.
The American duo were dropped for the afternoon foursomes.
Reed, a captain’s pick, has now failed to score a point in five successive matches when partnered up at team events, having been beaten twice with Woods at last year’s Ryder Cup in France.
Editing by Peter Rutherford