Graeme McDowell singled out the dangers of breaking political correctness in sport’s four-letter game after Patrick Reed’s ‘trial by TV’ verbal outburst during the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai.
McDowell was competing in the same group as his Ryder Cup rival and admitted after moving three shots clear of the field he actually never heard Reed launch a four-letter tirade of abuse at himself in three-putting the first green on day one.
Reed was so upset by reaction to the incident, including TV giant CNN running with the story in media-controlled China, he sought out countryman Bubba Watson to seek guidance from the self-confessed Bible-loving double Masters winner.
“Patrick said to me, ‘Hey, I did something bad’ and then he showed me the video clip,” said Watson, who shares third place behind McDowell on six under par.
Watson advised Reed to ‘tell everyone you’re sorry’ so he then went back to his own room tweeting his apologies.
“I made a stupid error that’s for sure and I’m definitely sorry for the word. It should never have happened and in this game of golf it’s a gentleman’s game and that should never happen,” said Reed. “I’m young and growing up and I’ve had temper issues on and off the golf course, and as you know I live and die through every shot.
“I’m not sure if I will get a fine or not. I will just have to wait and see. All I can handle is myself moving forward and playing some good golf.”
McDowell posted a bogey free 67 as he chases a first WGC title and then stressed the implications of crossing the line of political incorrectness, as we saw with Ted Bishop being sacked as PGA of American president over his sexist remarks directed at Ian Poulter.
“We always joke that golf is a four-letter word and there is a lot of four-letter words when you play the game of golf but then we are on global television and we have to be aware that we have to be very careful what we say,” said McDowell. “I don’t blame Patrick for using a profanity but then it was just an unfortunate choice of words, and we also live in a world where those small snowballs turn into one giant snowball when someone videos that and puts it up on Twitter. Then it gets repeated and repeated round the globe.
“He didn’t mean anything by his remarks and playing with him today I know he is sorry for what he said, and he wishes he hadn’t said that.
“Yes he should not have said it but is Patrick being unfairly dragged across the coals? I don’t know.
“Though guys say things all the time out here and it gets picked up by microphones, and Patrick uses one word that is politically incorrect and here we are still talking about it.
“We also saw a few weeks ago a leading official used sexist terms. Bad things can happen and you don’t want to be saying anything that is not PC so it’s a very sensitive universe these days.”
Shane Lowry rebounded from a first round 78 with a 69 that included a mid-round run of birdie, birdie and then an 11th hole eagle where he drilled a 5-iron from 213-yards to just eight feet.
“It was a good bounce back from yesterday after a very disappointing round and that 78 came out of nowhere,” he said. “I had nine birdies winning the morning Pro-Am on Wednesday, so then come out and shoot a 78 really sat me on my backside. But I was delighted today with how I got myself back into the tournament and to shoot three under par was very pleasing. If I can get myself back to par tomorrow then I will be delighted.”
Lowry heads to the final two rounds sharing 49th place and needing to break into the top-20 to be assured of a top-50 world ranking for a first time in his career.
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