Dec. 10 (UPI) -- American golfer Patrick Reed responded to cheating claims from the International Team ahead of the 2019 Presidents Cup, saying he "unintentionally" broke the rules during the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.
The response continues a battle of banter between the teams entering the Presidents Cup, which begins Thursday in Melbourne, Australia. The United States Team hasn't lost the Presidents Cup since 1998.
Reed received a two-stroke penalty for improving his lie when he moved sand with a practice swing during the second round of the Hero World Challenge on Friday in the Bahamas. The No. 12 player in the Official World Golf Ranking defended the move by saying camera angles of the sequence made the violation look worse than it was.
"It's not the right word to use," Reed told reporters Tuesday. "If you do something unintentionally that breaks the rules, it's not considered cheating. ... If you're intentionally trying to do something, that would be considered cheating, but I wasn't intentionally trying to improve a lie or anything like that."
Reed said the criticism turned the Presidents Cup rivalry against the International Team "personal."
International Team member Cameron Smith told the Australian media that Reed was "cheating the rules" when he moved the sand to improve his lie. He also said he hopes the crowd in Australia "gives it" to Reed and the United States Team.
South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen added to the fire by saying Reed deserved the criticism.
"He brought those things on himself, so I can imagine he's going to have a tough time next week," Oosthuizen told reporters after the Australian Open.
Fellow International Team member Marc Leishman also said Reed can expect some heckling.
"As long as it's not disrespectful, I think," Leishman said. "You never want to cross the line, but I think there is some pretty good ammo there, isn't there?"
United States Team captain Tiger Woods said he spoke with Reed after the miscue. Fellow United States Team member Justin Thomas mocked Reed during Monday's practice round in Melbourne. Thomas stood in a bunker and swiped his club through the sand before asking Reed if he was doing the move correctly.
"It was not a lengthy conversation," Woods told reporters Monday. "Pat and I are very good friends. We kept it short and brief and to the point."