Feb. 19 (UPI) -- The Houston Astros' sign-stealing cheating scandal has seeped into other sports, with Brooks Koepka recently using it as a comparison for sand-related rules violations committed by fellow golfer Patrick Reed.
Reed was given a two-stroke penalty during December's Hero World Challenge after he did two separate backswings in a waste area, displacing sand behind his ball. The official violation was for illegally improving his line of play. Reed was later criticized by fellow golfers and Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, but claimed he didn't realize he was doing anything wrong.
By moving sand from behind his ball, Reed had a better chance to get under the ball and hit a more accurate shot. Koepka joked that Reed was "building sandcastles" when grazing the sand with his club.
"I guess the Astros are going through that right now," Koepka said Monday on Sirius XM radio. "[Astros owner] Jim Crane said it, when he got asked, 'Is it cheating?' And he said, 'No, we just broke the rules.'
"If you play the game, you understand the rules. You understand the integrity that goes on. I mean, there's no room for it."
A Major League Baseball investigation found in January that, at the start of the 2017 season, the Astros began using a camera-based system to steal signs from opposing teams, allowing their players to know which pitches were coming during at-bats. MLB took four draft picks from the Astros, suspended the team's manager and general manager and fined the franchise a record $5 million.
Koepka said the cheating in golf -- by improving lie -- goes on "more than people think." He also said he has seen it from "some big names," referring to other top golfers. Reed received criticism from several other golfers after the Hero World Challenge. He was also heckled the following week at the President's Cup in Melbourne, Australia.
Koepka -- ranked No. 2 in the world -- tied for 43rd Sunday at the 2020 Genesis Invitational. Adam Scott won the event by two strokes. The WGC-Mexico Championship is the next tournament on the PGA Tour schedule. The tournament begins Thursday at the Club de Golf Chapultepec in Naucalpan de Juarez, Mexico. Koepka is not playing in the event and is unsure if he will play in the Olympics.