United States captain Tiger Woods revealed he had warned Patrick Reed of a potentially hostile reception in Australia as his team try to keep their focus on the Presidents Cup.
Woods is leading – and playing for – the USA against Ernie Els’ International team this week, but Reed, a captain’s pick, has been at the centre of controversy coming into the tournament.
The former Masters champion was dealt a two-stroke penalty at the Hero World Challenge – hosted by Woods in the Bahamas – for hacking away at the sand around his ball in the third round.
Reed was punished for “removing or pressing down sand or loose soil” and agonisingly finished two shots behind victor Henrik Stenson.
Woods is wary of potential backlash from rival supporters in the coming days, but he hopes the incident can be quickly forgotten.
“The fans we have down here are awesome and they are into their sport,” the 15-time major champion said. “Yes, I have talked to Pat about it.
Iconic @Melbourne views
— Presidents Cup (@PresidentsCup) December 9, 2019
“But that is behind us and we are focused on this week, on trying to go up against this great International team here.
“As we all know, Pat was penalised. That was it. The end of story. Unfortunately, he missed the play-off by two shots, but we are all in it this week getting ready for the Internationals.”
It is unclear yet how much involvement Woods will have as a playing captain at the Cup, but opposite number Els expects him to have an impact.
“[Having a playing captain] hasn’t been done in quite a few years,” Els said. “There will be a lot of help for him.
“We’ll see how it goes. I don’t know how many sessions he’s going to play. Obviously he’s a big asset to their team.
“We can only do what we do, control what we can control, play the way we want to play, and hopefully that’s good enough.”