WGC-Mexico ChampionshipFebruary 20, 2020

Patrick Reed deflects latest criticism from Brooks Koepka and Peter Kostis

World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship - Round One
Hector VivasMEXICO CITY, MEXICO - FEBRUARY 20: Patrick Reed of the United States plays a shot on the 18th hole during the first round of the World Golf Championships Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec on February 20, 2020 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

MEXICO CITY — Three days after Brooks Koepka blasted Patrick Reed in a radio interview for having improved his lie in a bunker during the Hero World Challenge in December, Reed said on Thursday at the WGC-Mexico Championship that he was “of course” aware of Koepka’s comments. He also said he essentially had no response to them.

“I mean, I said what I have to say about what happened in the Bahamas,” Reed said. “At the end of the day, all I'm trying to do is go out and play good golf and trying to win a golf championship and hopefully run Rory down.”

The comments from Reed came after an opening two-under 69 at Club de Golf Chapultepec, where he trails leader Rory McIlroy by four.

When a follow-up question was asked — if Reed was at all bothered that the topic of what happened in the Bahamas keeps coming up and following him — an official from the PGA Tour ended the interview, saying that Reed was only there to talk about golf.

On that matter, Reed was more than happy to talk about the difficult conditions he faced in the afternoon.

“I think the biggest thing is into the wind, downwind, kind of sea level at home, it's very easy to kind of judge,” he said at the beginning of the interview. “But all of a sudden you come here and it seems like downwind the ball will just not stop. It just never stops, and then into the wind it seems like the ball doesn't go anywhere. Because the air is thinner up here, it seems like at the end of the day the wind magnifies what the ball wants to do.”

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Meanwhile, what Reed did in the Bahamas, where he was penalized two strokes for knocking sand from behind his ball with two practice swings as he prepared to play a shot from a waste bunker during the second round of that tournament, has continued to be a hot topic in the weeks and months since.

The incident followed him to the Presidents Cup in Australia the following week, and has been fodder for everyone from players to television analysts.

On Monday, Koepka said on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio that Reed knew what he was doing when he was “building sand castles” in the bunker at the Hero. Asked by host Sway Calloway if Reed was cheating when he improved his lie, Koepka said: “Yeah. I don’t know what he was doing, building sand castles in the sand. But you know where your club is. 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.”

Former CBS analyst Peter Kostis also took Reed to task. Speaking on a recent No Laying Up podcast that also dropped this week, he said, “I’ve seen Patrick Reed improve his lie, up close and personal, four times now,” adding that one of those instances came in San Diego at the Farmers Insurance Open and another came at the Travelers Championship.

If the comments of Koepka, a Ryder Cup teammate in 2018, or those from Kostis, do bother Reed, it has been hard to tell by his play. Since the incident, Reed has three top-six finishes in seven starts, which included a T-3 at the Hero, to go with two missed cuts and a T-51.

For now, though, Reed will simply try to move on, even if the specter of what happened in the Bahamas continues to follow him.