Now that Peter Kostis is no longer tethered to CBS Sports and, by extension, the PGA Tour, he’s been speaking with more candor.
He’s calling it as he sees it, and, in an appearance on the No Laying Up podcast, Kostis said he has seen Patrick Reed do some unethical things on the golf course.
“I’ve seen Patrick Reed improve his lie, up close and personal, four times now,” Kostis said in the wide-ranging interview that included discussion of how the PGA Tour views its broadcast partners and their TV product.
One of Kostis’ four instances has been laid bare on YouTube.
In the final round of The Barclays (now The Northern Trust) in 2016, Reed was in contention down the stretch at Bethpage Black before going on to win. However, on the 13th hole, Reed found himself in thick rough just off the fairway. As CBS cameras show Reed preparing to hit his second shot into the par 5, Kostis explains how Reed got to that point in his pre-shot process, describing how Reed put down an iron several times behind his ball before changing to a 3-wood to hit the shot.
“That’s the only time I ever shut [Gary] McCord up. He didn’t know what to say when I said, ‘Well, the lie that I saw originally wouldn’t have allowed for this shot,'” Kostis said. “Because he put four or five clubs behind the ball, kind of faking whether he’s going to hit this shot or hit that shot. By the time he was done, he hit a freaking 3-wood out of there, which when I saw it, it was a sand wedge layup originally.”
This phenomenon is not unique to Reed. Others players have and regularly do this, placing an iron behind their ball with force before hitting their shot. The net effect is trampling the grass behind the ball to make it easier to make cleaner contact.
Kostis described other instances in which he saw Reed go through a similar process, including one on the 17th hole at the Travelers Championship and on the 16th at Torrey Pines’ South Course during an unspecified year of the Farmers Insurance Open.
“He hit it over the green and did the same thing, put three or four clubs behind (the ball),” Kostis said. “It was a really treacherous shot that nobody had gotten close all day long from over there. And by the time he was done, I could read ‘Callaway’ on the golf ball from my tower.”
Kostis wasn’t willing to claim Reed willfully did this with the intent of improving his lie, reiterating that he didn’t ever want to be part of the story as a commentator.
“I’m not even sure that he knows that he’s doing it sometimes. Maybe he does, I don’t know,” Kostis said. “I’m not going to assign intent. All I’m going to tell you is what I saw.”
Kostis’ comments come on the heels of those made by Brooks Koepka in a SiriusXM town hall, in which the former world No. 1 was critical of Reed improving his lie in a waste bunker during the 2019 Hero World Challenge for which he was penalized two strokes.
“Yeah. I don’t know what he was doing, building sand castles in the sand,” Koepka said. “But you know where your club is. I took three months off and I can promise you I know if I touch sand. If you look at the video, obviously he grazes the sand twice and then he still chops down on it.”
While Koepka said he has seen his share of rule-breaking in his career, Kostis underscored with No Laying Up that the overwhelming majority of pros are on the up-and-up.
“I mean, 99.99 percent of the guys play by the rule book, and they’re to be applauded for that,” he said. “That’s what’s supposed to happen.”