American golfer Patrick Reed has finally responded to people, including fellow golfers, who have described him as a 'cheat'. Speaking in a news conference on Tuesday ahead of the President's Cup, Reed stated that the mistake for which he was given a two-stroke penalty has been accepted as an inadvertent mistake and accusing him of deliberately trying to gain an advantage is wrong.
The incident in question took place at the Hero World Challenge in Bahamas last week when the golfer improved his lie by displacing some sand in the process of practicing his swing. There is still a debate as to whether the act was deliberate or unintentional.
"It's not the right word to use. If you do something unintentionally that breaks the rules, it's not considered cheating ... If you're intentionally trying to do something, that would be considered cheating, but I wasn't intentionally trying to improve a lie or anything like that ... It's just wrong, it's just not right," Reed implored.
He also accused his critics, belonging to the opposition camp, for blaming him in order to get the spectators on their side and said he now sees his rivalry with them as personal.
"Of course they are going to speak out, because they want to get their crowds going and get on their side. That's the name of the game. It goes from wanting to beat those guys to it now turning personal, so it's going to be a fun week."
The most prominent criticism of Reed's actions though has come from two of his USA teammates in the tournament – Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman. Smith went to the extent of saying that he has "no sympathy for anyone that cheats."
However, Reed has received support from his team captain Tiger Woods. Speaking on the issue, Woods revealed that he has had a conversation with the under-fire American and the two men are ready to move on from the issue.
"It was not a lengthy conversation. Pat and I are very good friends. We kept it short and brief, to the point ... Pat is a great kid. He's handled a tough upbringing well, and I just think that he's one of our best team players and is one of the reasons why all of the guys wanted him on the team," Woods said in support of his teammate.