Patrick Reed has been on the defensive after becoming embroiled in controversy at the Hero World Challenge, with Rory McIlroy on his side.

McIlroy: People like to kick Reed when he's down


Rory McIlroy has sympathy for the under-fire Patrick Reed and claimed people like to "kick him when he's down" after the American was penalised for improving his lie at the Hero World Challenge. 

Reed, who was hit with a two-stroke penalty, insists it was not his intention to break the rules when he brushed the sand twice during practice swings from the bunker.

Golf's rules state that players cannot improve their ability to play a shot by "removing or pressing down sand or loose soil".

While McIlroy conceded the punishment was necessary, he felt the 2018 Masters champion had been given a particularly rough time.

"I don't think it would be a big deal if it wasn't Patrick Reed," the four-time major winner told the Golf Channel's Morning Drive show. 

"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."

Reed pleaded his case by saying he could not feel his club hit the sand and even went as far as to suggest the camera angle had made the incident look worse than it was.

McIlroy added: "I think the live shot isn't as incriminating as the slow-mo. It's hard, because you try to give the player the benefit of the doubt, right? He's in there, he's trying to figure out what way to play the shot.

"It's almost like it's obliviousness to it rather than anything intentful, in terms of trying to get away with anything.

"It doesn't make it right what he did."



The Masters: Opta facts

Masters 2018: The best Opta facts

Ahead of the first major of the year, we take a look at the best Opta facts surrounding the 82nd edition of the Masters at Augusta.


Augusta to host women's amateurs

Augusta to host pre-Masters women's amateur event

On the eve of the Masters, it has been announced that from 2019 Augusta will host a women's amateur event prior to the iconic major.


Langer: Woods can win another major

Determined Woods can win another major, insists Langer

After seeing Tiger Woods make the cut on his Masters comeback, Bernhard Langer believes the American can win a major again.


Ko delighted to end barren run

Tearful Ko delighted to end barren run

After two years without a title on the LPGA Tour, Lydia Ko was back in the winner's enclosure on Sunday, bringing plenty of tears.


Smoltz to tee off in Senior Open

Baseball Hall of Famer John Smoltz set to tee off in U.S. Senior Open

Smoltz will tee off at 9:21 a.m. ET Thursday with Jim McGovern and Bob Ford at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.