Greg Norman ‘repulsed’ by golf cheat
AUSTRALIAN legend Greg Norman has blasted Patrick Reed following accusations of cheating levelled at the US golfer ahead of the Presidents Cup in Melbourne.
Reed was penalised two shots during last week's Hero World Challenge for clearing sand directly behind his ball to improve his lie in a bunker, and the American's scandal has dominated talk around Royal Melbourne.
Tiger Woods said team USA was focused on moving forward from the incident, after Aussie Cameron Smith, part of the International Team, ripped into Reed.
A host of other players also weighed in.
Norman became the latest high-profile golf identity to speak out, saying on his American radio show Attack Life he was "repulsed" by Reed's cheating.
"From my personal perspective, you know, I get really repulsed with that because, to me, you've got to protect the integrity of the game, not protect the player," Norman said.
"Over the years that I've been involved with the sport, for 40-plus years, I've seen a lot of things happen and, to me, I've always been at the forefront of protecting the game before anybody else.
"I don't care what it is, whether it is an infraction of the rules, or signing a scorecard incorrectly, or taking an illegal drop, or whatever it is that I see, I will always, always stand on the forefront of protecting the game first."
The Australian crowd has been ribbing Reed in Melbourne, making sure he's aware how they feel about his bunker activity in the Bahamas.
Norman said he supported Smith for taking such a strong stand against the 29-year-old.
"Look, I think how he's going to be received, the sampling's been given by Cameron Smith," Norman said.
"He was very articulate. He was very forthright. You'll find that the Australians and the Australian media, and the general public, they're very forthright in their comments and there's not a whole lot of tolerance for people who step across the line and take advantage of anything in sport."
Norman said he he had been watching the Hero World Challenge on TV and after seeing what Reed did, immediately texted a PGA Tour official to let them know what had happened and urged them to investigate.
"I feel for not just the pros. I feel for all the amateurs," Norman said. "Like today when I played in the pro-am, what was the first point of conversation? 'Oh, well Patrick Reed did it. Can we do it?' Well, you can't do that."
Smith's spat with Reed reportedly turned physical as the International team surged to a 4-1 lead on day one - the first time since 2005 the US has entered day two with a deficit to make up.
Smith pulled no punches when asked about Reed's indiscretion before the Presidents Cup kicked off, accusing Reed of a "bulls***" excuse when he said he didn't intentionally clear sand with the back of his club on a couple of practice swings.
"I don't have sympathy for anyone that cheats," Smith said at the time.
"If you make a mistake once maybe you can understand but to give a bit of a bulls*** response like the camera angle, I mean, that's pretty up there."
According to Australian Golf Digest, the pair ran into each other - literally - after Reed left the fifth green on the opening day of the Presidents Cup.
Watched by Smith, the Texan nailed a birdie to halve the hole and then made a beeline to Smith on his way to the next hole.
"While no words were apparently exchanged between the two players, they were seen deliberately bumping into each other in clash of shoulders, with one witness referring to it as a love tap that drew a wry grin from Smith," Golf Digest said.