IT BEGAN with throwing tees and almost turned on looking up trees.
Controversy tends to follow former Masters champ Patrick Reed around like a bad smell.
Following his tossing a wooden LIV tee in Rory McIlroy’s direction on the practice range in the UAE last week, we mentioned Reed has come in for some grief from golf viewers eager to point out he might not be up to the usual standards of golfing honour.
Which brings us to the third round of the Dubal Desert Classic, when Reed’s tee shot on the 17th landed in a palm tree and got lodged. Reed said he could see his ball up there and thus was entitled to a penalty drop underneath it. Without ID’ing it (he claimed he could see his markings when handed a spyglass by a tournament official), Reed would have had to return to the tee to play his third.
Social media, as it tends to do in these matters, lit up when footage showed Reed’s ball landing in a different tree to the one he took the drop beside.
Shrugging off accusations of doing anything improper, Reed went on a fine run of birdies and an eagle yesterday morning and was tied with McIlroy (who else?) after sinking another birdie on the 18th.McIlroy followed him in with one after just avoiding the water (which has scuppered him over again on this hole in this tournament) to claim a one-shot win, his first ever win in his first tournament of his season.
It looks like McIlroy, with a new driver in his bag, will carry some of his fantastic form from last year over to this one.
It’s a shame there won’t be many duels with the LIV player Reed, as their tetchy relationship (along with others’) is just the sort of box office golf needs.
The season looks most likely to be one dominated by the contest between the Down man and Jon Rahm. If one of them doesn’t win a major this year I’ll eat a whole edition of The Echo.
The Pebble Beach Pro-Am has lost some of its lustre in recent years and only one player in the Top 10 competes in the event this year as the PGA Tour continues to head up the California coast.
Jordan Spieth and US Open holder MattFitzpatrick are joint favourites at 9/1 with last year’s 66/1 winner Tom Hoge is a 20/1 shot this time.
THERE are three horses with “Mahler” in their name appearing at Limerick racecourse tomorrow. All sired by the Coolmore stallion of that name, who was in turn sired by their Derby hero Galileo.
Storm Mahler goes in the second race but is a complete outsider, however in the fifth race two half-siblings Mahlers Cove (8/1) and Princess Mahler (16/1) face off.
They are all named after the Austro-German composer Gustav Mahler, who isn’t really renowned for the more banging tunes we would be familiar with from TV adverts.
Without resorting to Wikipedia, what I recall him for is that he was married to a woman who would go on to marry two more cultural Teutonic icons and that he wouldn’t name his ninth symphony his “ninth symphony” because so many composers died before writing their 10th (hard luck Gustav, so did you.) Princess Mahler’s sole win came at Limerick over the same two miles as tomorrow, but that was back in 2018 so a 10th out of 11 might be the best her connections can hope for. Mahlers Cove is instead advised at 8/1 on his handicap hurdle debut.
FOLLOWING last week’s first legs, the Carabao Cup final looks likely to be a clash of the Uniteds.
Man United bring a 3-0 lead back to Old Trafford tomorrow evening when they host Notts Forest, while Newcastle have only a single-goal lead at St James when Southampton visit tonight.
Ten Hag’s men are 4/6 favourites to capture his first piece of silverware in England, with Eddie Howe’s Magpies 6/5.
If you fancy the Saints causing a shock against the non-leaky defence of the Toon, they are 8/1 to win tonight and 40/1 for the trophy.
I DO think 40/1 is a big price on Southampton. Cup semi second legs aren’t exactly locked in at 1-0, even if you are at home in the second one.
That one might be worth a few small quid and we’ll also opt for Mahlers Cove to romp home tomorrow in Limerick at 8/1, albeit with no great confidence.