From 'teegate' to 'treegate' -- it seems impossible to keep Patrick Reed and controversies apart.
The American, who now plies his trade as a contracted LIV Golf player, was embroiled in yet another rules controversy during Sunday's third round of the $9 million Dubai Desert Classic, when his ball got lodged in one of the palm trees to the right of the drivable, par-4 17th green.
Reed said he could identify his ball on the tree after looking through a pair of binoculars and proceeded to take a drop right under the tree with a one-shot penalty.
He ended up making a bogey in a three-under par round of 69 as he ended the day tied in fourth place at 11-under par for the rain-hit tournament, four behind leader Rory McIlroy.
If Reed was unable to locate his ball, he could not have declared it unplayable. That would have forced him to go back to the tee and hit what would have been his third shot.
However, a social media post suggested that television replays showed Reed's ball disappearing into an adjacent tree, although the footage did not seem conclusive.
"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," said Reed.
"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."
The DP World Tour confirmed Reed's side of the story and explained the relevant ruling on identifying a ball.
"During round three of the Dubai Desert Classic, 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," the statement read.
"The DP World Tour Chief Referee joined the player in the area and asked him to identify his distinctive ball markings.
"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 drop at the point directly below the ball on the ground."
The tour added: "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 eve of the tournament, Reed was said to have thrown a wooden tee in disgust at McIlroy when the Northern Irishman refused to shake hands with him at the driving range.
Footage from the range later cleared Reed of any such wrongdoing.
McIlroy admitted he was in no mood to acknowledge his presence, but added that the incident was nothing more than a "storm in a teacup".
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