Smith says Reed friendship damaged by 'cheat' row

Melbourne (AFP) –


Australian Cameron Smith admitted Wednesday his friendship with US star Patrick Reed has been damaged after calling him a cheat.

Reed, who is part of captain Tiger Woods' US team at this week's Presidents Cup in Melbourne, was docked two strokes for improving his lie during the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas last week.

Smith responded by telling local media he had no sympathy for "cheats", which sparked a denial from Reed that he had done anything wrong.

The Australian, on Ernie Els' International team for the matchplay event in Melbourne, said he had not spoken to Reed since.

"I'm sure he didn't like it. I think there is a little bit of tension there. I've looked at Patrick a couple times but he hasn't looked back," Smith said after a practice round on Wednesday.

Asked if he would try and talk to him to clear the air, Smith replied: "I definitely won't go out of my way. I think our friendship, I guess, is not quite there anymore."

He suggested though that if Els wanted him to break the ice, for the good of the team, he would consider it.

"You know, what Ernie thinks is best I'm willing to do. I'm here to do a job for Ernie and that's all I'm focusing on."

Reed's practice swings twice moved sand from behind his ball in a Bahamas waste bunker in the third round of the tournament and he insisted on Tuesday the transgression had not been deliberate.

"It's not the right word to use," he said when asked what it felt like to be called a cheat.

"At the end of the day, if you do something unintentionally that breaks the rules, it's not considered cheating and at the end of the day that's what it is," he added.

Woods came to Reed's defence on Tuesday, calling him "a great kid" who would not let the row hinder him in the Presidents Cup.

Smith was not picked for the opening fourball round on Thursday while Reed was selected to play alongside Webb Simpson against Hideki Matsuyama and CT Pan.