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Controversial Reed braced to face fans' heckling at the Players

 

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Clear focus: Patrick Reed says he won’t be distracted

Clear focus: Patrick Reed says he won’t be distracted

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Clear focus: Patrick Reed says he won’t be distracted

Patrick Reed insists he is unconcerned by the possibility of being heckled during this week's Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.

Reed's conduct on the course has been under severe scrutiny since he received a two-shot penalty during the Hero World Challenge in December.

The former Masters champion said he had not intended to improve his lie by removing sand behind his ball during two practice swings, but that explanation has cut little ice with some fans and fellow players.

One spectator yelled "cheater" at Reed as he putted during a play-off at the Tournament of Champions in January, while former World No.1 Brooks Koepka also expressed his disapproval.

Koepka said: "I don't know what he was doing, building sandcastles in the sand, but you know where your club is.

"If you look at the video, he grazes the sand twice, and then he still chops down on it. If you play the game, you understand the rules."

Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter has faced heckling from spectators at Sawgrass on more than one occasion, but Reed is not expecting any problems.

"I think the PGA Tour has done a great job on the security and the fans as a whole have been pretty good," Reed, who has not spoken to Koepka since the latter's comments, said in his pre-event press conference.

"You're always going to get a couple of people here and there that are going to say something, that's normal in any sport. When I get inside those ropes I have a job to do, and that's to play good golf and have a chance to win on Sundays to provide for my family and to go out and represent myself the best way I can."

Reed had previously vowed to "block out all the noise" surrounding him following his recent victory in the WGC-Mexico Championship.

But when asked if further victories would bring an end to such noise, he said: "At the end of the day the noise goes away once you all decide it goes away.

"I feel like the players and all of us have moved on. All we can do is go out and continue playing good golf and doing what we're supposed to do."

Two more tournaments have been postponed as fears over the coronavirus outbreak continue to wreak havoc with the European Tour schedule.

Next week's Hero Indian Open and August's Czech Masters have joined this week's Kenya Open and April's Maybank Championship and China Open in falling victim to concerns over the spread of Covid-19.

Belfast Telegraph