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Slow-Motion Video Fuels Patrick Reed Penalty Controversy in Dubai

Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee broke down slow-motion video of Patrick Reed's Saturday tee shot that became lodged in a palm tree, and the images only add to the uncertainty around the ruling Reed was given.
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Patrick Reed came up a shot short of Rory McIlroy on Monday during the final round of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic, shooting a 65 at Emirates Golf Club that included an eagle at the 10th hole.

But the ruling he received on Sunday during the third round when his tee shot was lodged in a tree is still a subject of controversy.

Reed claimed and a DP World Tour official concurred that his ball was identified in a tree using binoculars. He had a special marking on his ball, a rules official viewed it and determined it was Reed’s ball.

That allowed him to take an unplayable penalty drop beneath the tree. Had the ball not been identified, it would have been treated as lost, meaning Reed would have had to return to the tee to hit another drive, after a penalty stroke, meaning a third shot from there.

But the tree in question is being disputed. Reed claimed the ball was in one tree while video appears to show it in another. Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee broke down the video in Zapruder-like fashion.

Reed said he was “100 percent’’ certain it was his ball in the tree – the farthest one from the tee, according to Chamblee. There was some confusion on the ground as well.

“I would have gone back to the tee if I wasn’t 100 percent,’’ he told reporters in Dubai. “I got lucky that we were able to look through the binoculars and you have to make sure it’s your ball and how I mark my golf balls is I always put an arrow on the end of my line, because the Pro V1 the arrow on the end stop before it so you can see the arrow.

“And then you could definitely see and identify the line with the arrow on the end, and the rules official, luckily, was there to reconfirm and check it to make sure it was mine as well.’’

The DP World Tour later issued a statement in which it said that two on-course referees and several marshals identified a specific tree in which Reed’s ball had become lodged. “Using binoculars, the chief referee was satisfied that a ball with those markings was lodged in the tree. The player subsequently took an unplayable penalty (Rule 19-2c) at that point directly below the ball on the ground. To clarify, the player was not asked to specify the tree but to identify his distinctive ball markings to confirm it was his ball."

McIlroy also came to Reed's defense.

"I felt it was fine. Kev Feeney is a really experienced referee and he's not going to do anything wrong," McIlroy said. "Had it been anyone else in the field it would have been a non-issue, but because of certain things in the past, people brought some stuff up, which is maybe unfair in some ways.

"I've stood and defended Patrick in some of the controversies."