The Patrick Reed saga continues Tuesday with the release of the so-called “affidavit” from University of Georgia men’s golf head coach Chris Haack, and a statement from Jason Payne, an assistant coach during Reed’s time at Georgia.
After the final round of last Sunday’s WGC-Cadillac Championship, Reed gave an interview to Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis, denying allegations against him for cheating and stealing from his college days that were published from an excerpt of the upcoming book authored by Shane Ryan, “Slaying the Tiger: A year inside the ropes on the new PGA Tour.”
In the interview, Reed also mentions two “sworn statements” from his former coaches at University of Georgia, Haack, and Augusta State University, Josh Gregory — which assert that “none of this is true.”
Well, the sworn statement from Coach Haack has been obtained under the Georgia Open Records Act, which was made possible because Haack used university counsel. Note that when the document was sent, the Georgia legal affairs representative wrote, “Please note that this is not an affidavit.” (Emphasis mine.) According to a legal affairs officer, the distinction is that an affidavit would have to be sworn officially under oath and notarized for use in court—this document is far more informal. Haack himself confirmed that this is the only document he signed for Reed’s attorneys.
Here’s the statement:
First of all, Haack said Reed wasn’t kicked out for cheating — which is true. However, as much as Reed wants to give the impression that this news is some sort of victory for him, the truth is that Ryan never made that claim in his piece. In actuality, it’s a known fact that everyone agrees on, but Reed and his attorneys are attempting to present it as a revelation.
“At that point, sources say, Haack realized there had been a cover-up, and he couldn’t trust anything that came from Reed or anybody else in the family. Combined with the personal and ethical problems Patrick presented, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Haack began the process of severing ties between Reed and the golf team. Reed kept his access to all facilities for the rest of the academic year, along with academic tutoring, but in terms of Georgia golf, the relationship was over. It was understood that Reed would transfer for his sophomore season.”
The second point from Haack’s “affidavit” is even trickier: “While Patrick Reed was at UGA, I was not aware of any allegations of cheating or theft against him.”
That’s because it came to his attention after Reed had transferred, which Haack confirmed. It seems as though Reed’s lawyers are attempting to play a game of semantics, and hoping that the public will misconstrue Haack learning later as Haack never learning at all—which is not the case.
That being said, I have a statement from Jason Payne, the assistant coach at Georgia at the time, who notes that the suspicions of cheating and stealing absolutely did exist among players, and that news reached certain coaches, even if it didn’t reach Haack himself until Reed had left. Here’s Payne’s statement:
Patrick Reed has established himself as one of the best players in the world of golf and I wish him nothing but the best both personally and professionally. While getting to know Patrick through the recruiting process as a coach, a few character issues came to light, that we as coaches thought we could help Patrick with. Once Patrick was on campus for a few months, it became clear that Patrick was not going to mesh with the make up of the team at that time, and he was dismissed from the team.
There is no doubting the ability of Patrick as a golfer, it was Patrick as a person that we chose not to associate with. The story that has been reported by Shane Ryan is an accurate account of his college career at UGA—including the suspicions held by his former teammates. I am sure Patrick has learned from his past and is now the best individual, golfer, husband, and father he can be.
Here is a list of Reed’s claims that now come under suspicion in light of this new information.
1. Patrick’s quote from the GC interview: “We have coaches that even back it up. And if any of it was true, then the coaches would know about it, I would’ve sat for it. And we’ve got statements from them saying we never sat because of those reasons.”
At least one of those coaches did know about it. And the statement from Haack and Payne confirm that they knew about the accusations from the players of cheating and stealing, albeit at different times.
2. Another Reed quote: “We talked to both coaches and everything try to figure out who these anonymous sources were…We talked to Haack and Josh Gregory and both of them even said that this was never, ever in question.”
Again, it was in question with Haack—it just came to him after Reed had left, and the attorneys are playing semantics to try to make Haack’s statement seem like more than it really is. This quote is deceptive at best.
3. A final Reed quote: “None of it’s true, and we have coaches that even back it up. And if any of it was true, then the coaches would know about it.”
Again, at least one coach did know about it, and Haack never “backed up” that the allegations were untrue—only that Reed had been kicked out for other reasons, which has been known since Ryan’s original article.
There will be more to come as the story continues to develop. The last piece of Reed’s story that still stands is the denial that he was suspended for two events for cheating at Augusta State. As I wrote Monday, it seems like Augusta State players from Reed’s era have disputed that account vigorously on Twitter, reaching out to Ryan. No news of any development on that front yet, but it seems like only a matter of time before that denial comes into question, as well.
*UPDATE: The word “affidavit” was used and obtained from GolfChannel.com’s original report on the story. Their original post was updated, stating: “This story has been updated to clarify that Reed has written statements from both Haack and Gregory, as he states in the video above.”
To set the record straight, Todd Lewis never said “affidavit” in his reporting on this topic.