What you missed: A new star on the European Tour and the fallout from Reed's penalty


What you missed: The fallout from Reed's weekend rules controversy, Stenson's victory, and Europe's new star.

The biggest news story of the week came in the form of controversy surrounding Patrick Reed's two-stroke penalty at the Hero World Challenge. He accepted the penalty but blamed the camera angle for how incriminating it looked, and he was quick to draw criticism from members of the golf world - including players he'll be facing at this week's Presidents Cup. 

One player who is in his corner though is Rory McIlroy, who feels that the Reed deserves the benefit of the doubt, while Presidents Cup Captain Tiger Woods says it won't affect how he plays in Australia.

Despite the media storm, Reed finished with a final 66 to earn third place behind winner Henrik Stenson, who picked up his first victory in over two years thanks to a sublime five-wood in to the par-five 15th at Albany. 

Elsewhere, 18-year-old Rasmus Hojgaard broke through with an eagle on the third play-off hole in Mauritius to become the third youngest European Tour winner in history... in just his fifth ever European Tour event.

Patrick Reed blames camera angle after being given two shot penalty for improving 'intended line of play' in a waste bunker at Hero World Challenge

Patrick Reed found himself at the centre of a rules controversy during Friday's third round at the Hero World Challenge after he was caught by cameras appearing to flatten out and improve his lie in a waste bunker on the 11th hole at Albany Golf Club.

Reed, who had started the third round with a three stroke lead, found the waste bunker off the tee and was subsequently caught moving sand away from his ball with his club during two practice swings. 

He went on to make his first bogey of the day, but was ushered in to a room following the completion of his third round and was handed a two-stroke penalty, giving him an eight at that hole. 

And while he accepted the penalty, Reed made it clear he felt a different camera angle would have shown he hadn't improved his lie.

“I think with a different camera angle they would have realized that if it was from the side you would have seen that with the backswing it was not improving the lie because it was far enough away from the golf ball,” Reed said.

"But after seeing that camera angle, because it brushed the sand it was a penalty.

“I told [White] it wasn’t intent and that I was far enough away from the ball, but because they didn’t have another angle, they can’t say anything either way. At the end of the day, because of where the camera angle was, they felt like it might have been improving the lie."

"At the end of the day you gotta let things roll of your shoulders... If I stew over something that I felt like I didn’t intentionally do, at the end of the day it’s my word versus their word. They weren’t standing there, they had a camera angle. Because of that, you don’t really have a choice."

He went on to finish third in the tournament, but the repercussions are sure to follow... especially after a video of a similar incident from 2015 has been circling around social media.

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Members of International Presidents Cup team call-out Reed for 'cheating'

Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith are preparing to face Parick Reed at the Presidents Cup in Australia this week, and both had some choie words over the situation that occurred in the Bahamas.

Leishman was first questioned about the incident, suggesting that it would give the home fans in Australia some 'ammo'. 

"There are opportunities there, put it that way," Leishman said. “I think he’s definitely opened a door there, that he’s brought on himself."

"As long as it’s not disrespectful. You never want to cross the line, but I think there is some pretty good ammo there, isn’t there?"

Smith went a step further, telling Evin Priest from the AAP that he had no sympathy for how the crowd might react to him. 

"I hope so," Smith said when asked if he thought the crowd would heckle Reed at the Presidents Cup. "I don't have any sympathy for anyone that cheats.

"I hope the crowd absolutely gives it to not only him, but everyone [on the American team] next week."

"If you make a mistake maybe once, you could maybe understand, but to give a bit of a bulls**t response like the camera angle ... that's pretty up there."

Given the controversy surrounding Reed during his last team outing at the Ryder Cup, the whole thing has come at a bad time for the U.S team, but Captain Tiger Woods played the affect of Reed's ruling down when forced to address it.

"When it comes right down to it, we'll just get ready to play," Woods said. "Whatever Patrick has put out there, he's focused like he is in every Cup, he just goes out and gets his point. Next week will be no different."

Rory McIlroy: "I don’t think it would be a big deal if it wasn’t Patrick Reed"

While the controversy following Patrick Reed's rules incident at the weekend continues to cause waves in the sport, Rory McIlroy had a different opinion than most, believing anybody else would have been given the benefit of the doubt. 

“I think it’s hard because you try to give the player the benefit of the doubt,” McIlroy told Golf Channel’s Morning Drive during an interview on Monday.

“He’s in there and he’s trying to figure out which way to play the shot. Obviously he’s moved some sand so it is a penalty. But I keep saying, I don’t think it would be a big deal if it wasn’t Patrick Reed. It’s almost like a lot of people within the game, it’s almost like a hobby to sort of kick him when he’s down.

"I've had great interactions with Patrick. I certainly don't think there was intent there.

"It's very hard for me not to think that he didn't feel what he was doing, it's just a hard one. Again, I'd rather try to give someone the benefit of the doubt and just say look, it was a mistake, take your penalty, move on.

"It’s going to make things really difficult down in Australia for him.

The World No.2 was then asked if his opinion changed given the other video surrounding the incident, and McIlroy said he chooses to believe in the spirit of integrity in the game.

"I know. It’s almost like it’s obliviousness to it rather than actually anything (intentional) in terms of trying to get away with something," McIlroy said. "I think it’s just his, it’s his pre-shot routine nearly. I don’t know. It’s not right; it obviously doesn’t make it right what he did. I just keep saying, if it wasn't Patrick Reed I don't think it would have been a big a deal as it's been made out to be.

“It’s a tough one. I’d never want to think a competitor is intentionally trying to improve a lie. I think we could all give him the benefit of the doubt one time, twice maybe, and then we can move on. If he's learnt his lesson and doesn't do it again, I guess that's a good thing."

Rasmus Højgaard became the third youngest winner in European Tour history with play-off victory at AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open

Playing in just his fifth ever European Tour start, 18-year-old Rasmus Højgaard became the third youngest winner in the Tour's history by defeating Antoine Rozner and Renato Paratore in a three-man playoff in Mauritius.

The teenager, who became the first player born in the 21st century to graduate from the Qualifying School last month, birdied the 72nd hole to get in to the play-off and eagled the par-five 18th on his third attempt to earn the first professional victory of his career.

"This is a dream come true,"  Højgaard said. "It's amazing. To be on the European Tour so early is a dream come true and to be a winner now, it's incredible. I can't put it into words. I'm looking forward to the next challenge.

"I just tried to be patient and set up as many birdie chances as possible and see if I could hole putts.

"I had nothing to lose in this position (the play-off), it was just a driver all day. I hit three good approach shots into 18 and got it done on the third hole."

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Henrik Stenson's late eagle helps him edge out Jon Rahm by a shot to claim the Hero World Challenge

A stunning eagle on the 15th hole helped Henrik Stenson to a final round 66 at Albany and a one stroke victory over defending champion Jon Rahm, finishing on 18-under-par. 

It proved to be the pivotal moment of the afternoon, the near-albatross helping him to six-under-par as he moved past Rahm to gain the outright lead while tournament host Tiger Woods faltered over the closing holes.

Stenson then consolidated his position at the top with three closing pars, including a lengthy two putt on the 18th for victory over the Race to Dubai champion.

"Very happy with the way I played today," Stenson said afterwards. "It’s been a very average season...but it finished on a high."

Stenson also spoke about his fall in the world rankings over the past couple of years, having dropped to World No.40, and said he's targetting a return to the World's top 10.

"It’s down but it’s not disastrous,” he told the Golf Channel. “I’ve been top 10 in the world for five or six years straight, and that’s where I want to be. I feel like I’m playing to my potential. I can certainly compete with the best and I guess I showed that once again."

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