Sun, 16 Aug 2020

Melbourne - Bad boy Patrick Reed was heckled on the first tee at the Presidents Cup on Thursday by the Australian crowd who loudly jeered the controversial American, then cheered as his opening drive found a bunker.

Reed, part of Tiger Woods' US team at Royal Melbourne, was docked two strokes for improving his lie in sand in the Bahamas last week, causing International team opponent Cameron Smith of Australia to brand him a cheat.

Reed was greeted by a chorus of boos when his name was called alongside partner Webb Simpson at the first tee of his fourball against Japan's Hideki Matsuyama and Taiwan newcomer CT Pan.

Reed's tee shot sped across the fast-running fairway and toppled into the sand to a roar from the partisan fans at Royal Melbourne, but the US pair went on to halve the hole.

The barracking continued, with the local Herald Sun newspaper reporting one person shouting: "Have you got 14 clubs and rake in your bag?"

Last week in the Bahamas Reed's practice swings had twice moved sand from behind his ball in a waste bunker, but he insisted he had not deliberately improved his lie, despite being penalised.

It sparked a spat with Smith, who is not playing on day one of the Presidents Cup, but admitted: "I think our friendship, I guess, is not quite there anymore."

Ernie Els' young International team are attempting to win the Presidents Cup for the first time since 1998 and only the second time in the event's 25-year history.

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