This might be a bit challenging to decipher from the videos above regarding what happened here but the situation is essentially this. Patrick Reed is sitting in a fairway bunker on 10 with a 4 shot lead at -13. He tugs a wedge out of the sand into some thick rough left of the green near the cart path. The ball VERY CLEARLY BOUNCES and disappears into the rough. When Patty approaches and finds his ball, he (and he alone) determines that said golf ball is embedded into the rough, which would allow him to take a drop with no penalty and serve to give him a serious advantage over the buried lie he presumably would have had for his 3rd shot.
Normally under these circumstances, the procedure is to FIRST call in the rules official to corroborate the determination that the ball was in fact embedded. But nope, Patrick takes it upon himself to pick up the ball and THEN call in the official. When the official arrived, his supporting evidence of the embedded lie was a pitchmark in the rough that he allegedly pulled the ball out of. But here's the thing. The video very clearly shows the ball bouncing when it first lands, and then diving into the rough. Torrey Pines took on a considerable amount of rain on Friday, which would lend credence to the idea that embedded balls are very much within the realm of possibilities... but here's the thing. Anybody who's ever played a round of golf in wet conditions (or anyone with a brain) knows that it would take an absurd amount of swampiness for a ball to plug on its second bounce. It's virtually unfathomable really. There's no evidence to be sure that Reed saw it bounce because it was 130 yards from where he took a shot from the bunker, but it's really hard to believe that the ball could have truly plugged to a degree to necessitate an obvious drop. At least not plugged enough to justify pulling it from the rough with such confidence that it wasn't worthy of bringing in the official before picking it up.
That's where his actions are especially seedy. He took judgment of the ruling into his own hands. Who's to say that the plug mark he showed the official wasn't just the typical pitchmark from the first bounce? All of it is really tough to judge because he took the typical procedure into his own hands by picking up the ball.
All of this just feeds into the entire narrative that Patrick Reed is a guy who skirts the rules when he sees the opportunity. It's a narrative that's followed him for years, and was especially established with his whole "grounded club" incident at the Hero World Challenge a year ago. When it comes to cheating at golf, there's really no coming back from that type of reputation once it's been built. So you almost have to respect Patrick Reed for just leaning into the narrative now that it's too far gone. Might as well try to cut every corner at this point and be the bad boy.
Everything in life is better when there's good guys and bad guys and since his reputation is already pretty much irreparably tarnished, midas whale use it to your advantage. Hard to see it any other way because the evidence and logic against Patrick Reed appears to be pretty damning on this one.