Tiger Woods and the U.S. Presidents Cup team have arrived in Melbourne, Australia — and it didn’t take long before he was asked about Patrick Reed.
After a 26-hour journey that took the 12 Americans plus caddies, families and officials from the Bahamas through Acapulco, Mexico and then on to Melbourne, three bleary-eyed members headed straight for a public appearance.
It’s not clear whether Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele drew short straws, but they joined Woods, the U.S. team captain, at an exhibition at the Yarra River. Adam Scott, Cameron Smith and team captain Ernie Els were there representing the International side.
After taking a crack at a floating pontoon green some 70 yards away (Woods’ two efforts reportedly both fell short in the water) they faced questions from the media. It didn’t take long for the captain to face questions about Reed, who faced criticism and cheating allegations after an incident in a waste bunker on Friday at the Hero World Challenge that led to a two-stroke penalty. Asked if he’d addressed the issue with Reed, Woods gave a succinct answer.
“Yes, I have spoken to Pat about it, it’s behind us, we’re onto this week, we’re focused on going against this great International team here,” he said, per RTE.
“As we all know, Pat was penalized and that was it, end of story. Unfortunately, he missed the playoff by those two shots but we’re looking at this week.”
Reed finished the event at 16 under, two shots behind winner Henrik Stenson. There’s no question that both he and Woods would prefer the issue go away, but there’s also no question that it will persist. International team veteran Marc Leishman suggested the incident might provide “ammo” for the large crowds expected to show up.
“There are opportunities there, put it that way,” Leishman said at the Australian Open. “I think he’s definitely opened a door there, that he’s brought on himself.”
Cameron Smith was even more direct, saying, “I don’t have any sympathy for anyone that cheats” and calling Reed’s explanation “a bit of a bull—- response.”
Woods described the rest of the trip as a day to kill in the sky, with a mix of sleeping, playing cards and telling stories.
“It’s a great team, a great mix, a couple of older guys but the majority of the team is under 30,” he told RTE. “I’m telling stories about what happened way back in ’98 when some of these guys were in diapers.”
There’s no doubt we’ll hear more from Woods — and Reed — before the team competition begins on Thursday. Just not before the American side gets some sleep.
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