(Reuters) – Patrick Reed’s week began on a sour note with Brooks Koepka stoking the embers of a cheating allegation against him but the Texan ended it in a blaze of glory with victory at the WGC-Mexico Championship on Sunday.
Feb 23, 2020; Mexico City, MEX; Patrick Reed gestures after playing his shot from the third tee during the final round of the WGC – Mexico Championship golf tournament at Club de Golf Chapultepec. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Reed may never be able to fully restore his reputation after video images showed him improving his lie in a sandy waste area at the World Challenge in December but he has proved in Mexico that he can roll with the punches and rise to the challenge.
While Reed said at the time his error in the Bahamas was inadvertent, Koepka, who skipped the Mexico City event, told a golf podcast that his American Ryder and Presidents Cup team mate knew exactly what he was doing.
“You know where your club is,” Koepka told SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio. “I took three months off and I can promise you I know if I touch sand. If you look at the video, obviously he grazes the sand twice and then he still chops down on it.”
But such comments are like water off a duck’s back for Reed.
“Coming into this week, I knew all I needed to do was block out all the noise, no matter what it was,” he told reporters after finishing at 18-under-par 266 for a one-stroke victory at Club de Golf Chapultepec.
“I feel I’ve been able to do that well throughout my entire career, once I get inside the ropes do what I do well, and that’s play golf.
“I’m used to it. At the end of the day all I can control is me. I feel like I’ve been growing as a person and a golfer and that’s all I can really do.”
Reed, the 2018 Masters champion, was speaking after his eighth PGA Tour win and his second at a World Golf Championships event. He is projected to improve to eighth in the world rankings.
Asked on Sunday how he would handle his next encounter with the outspoken Koepka, Reed said it would not give him pause for thought.
“I put the ball in the ground and hit my next shot,” he said.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Peter Rutherford