Brooks Koepka has weighed in for the first time on accusations of cheating leveled against Patrick Reed at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas back in December.
Reed, the 2018 Masters champion, appeared to improve his lie in a bunker by moving sand on his backswing practice. He did not himself report the violation and was handed a two-stroke penalty at the tournament for “removing or pressing down sand or loose soil”.
Koepka, himself a four-time Major winner, was speaking on Monday in a Sirius XM interview with host Sway Calloway, when he was asked if he felt Reed had indeed cheated.
“Yeah. I mean, I don’t know what he was doing, building sand castles in the sand. You know where your club is.
"I mean, I took three months off, and I can promise you I know if I touched sand. ... It’s one of these things where you know. If you look at the video, obviously he grazes the sand twice and then he still chops down on it.”
A closer look at Patrick Reed’s two-stroke penalty during Round 3 of the Hero World Challenge. pic.twitter.com/z2aqkajnYq
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) December 7, 2019
Koepka then drew comparisons between Reed and the Houston Astros Major League Baseball team, who are themselves currently embroiled in a cheating scandal over illegal sign stealing.
“I guess the Astros are going through that right now. [Owner] Jim Crane said it, when he got asked, ‘Is it cheating?’ And he said, ‘No, we just broke the rules.’ ... If you play the game you understand the rules. You understand the integrity that goes on. I mean, there’s no room for it.”
Shane Ryan, a golf journalist and author of 'Slaying the Tiger' was on Off the Ball back in January and gave his thoughts on the Reed accusations.
“If you’re asking what I believe, I definitely think he cheated on purpose. Not everybody agrees with that but that’s my belief.
“There was absolutely no accountability from him or from anyone else and what was really interesting was the President’s Cup happened just the next week.
“So it was a really weird timing situation where his teammates in the President’s Cup all of a sudden had to broadcast this solidarity with him - or choose to call him out. But they all chose to toe the line."
Reed has received widespread criticism after the incident in December, and had "cheater" shouted at him during a shot when the American was playing at the Sentry Tournament of Champions at the beginning of this year.
The 29-year-old is playing in this week's WGC-Mexico Championship, while Koepka is taking the week off.