What Patrick Reed says he learned from this year’s Presidents Cup

December 17, 2019
What did Patrick Reed learn from the Presidents Cup?

It’s no secret that Patrick Reed had a trying week at the Presidents Cup. First he was repeatedly confronted with questions about his controversial penalty at the previous week’s Hero World Challenge. Once the competition started, Reed and partner Webb Simpson stumbled out of the gate en route to an 0-3 showing as a team. To make matters worse, Reed’s caddie Kessler Karain got into a physical altercation with a rude fan after the Saturday morning session and was banned from the property Sunday. That’s a long week.

But on Sunday, Reed experienced a measure of on-course redemption. With swing coach Kevin Kirk on the bag for singles, he channeled his competitive drive and won six of the first seven holes against C.T. Pan en route to a 4&2 victory in a pivotal early match.

“I think it’s a team effort,” he said. “With family back home, and then also with Captain and teammates, they said, hey, the only thing we can do is go out and play the best golf we can. Play your match and try to win a point. You know, at this point, everything is bigger than just going out and playing golf. Need to go out and get a point for our team.”

After the round, reporters were understandably curious about Reed’s reaction to everything that had gone down. How did he feel about it all? What were his takeaways from the week? How had he dealt with distractions Sunday? One question stood out:

What have you learned about yourself, about this sport, in the last eight, nine days?

“I think the biggest thing is just to continue grinding and not let the crowds or let people get in the way of what you’re trying to do, and that’s play golf,” he said. “You know, the past couple days were tough, and you know, today still wasn’t easy. I played some amazing golf, and even though I got up a lot early, CT, the kind of golfer he is, he put the pressure right back on. He made clutch putt after clutch putt, and kept making birdies to keep the round interesting.”

Reed remains inscrutable in interviews. Ever since his Masters win thrust him fully into the spotlight, he’s been asked tough, personal questions but always, always prefers to keep his answers confined to on-course. Other players who have faced criticism in recent years — Matt Kuchar, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth — have opened up in interviews about how that criticism affects them. Not so much with Reed.

What did Patrick Reed learn from the Presidents Cup?
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After the Cup, U.S. Captain Tiger Woods was asked about what he’d said to Reed leading up to the final day, knowing what else was on his plate.

“Yes, absolutely, we talked about it,” Woods said. “Patrick was responsible for his point. Just go out there and focus on what you need to do to get your point, just like the 11 other players.”

Reed’s week was, of course, wholly unlike that of “the 11 other players.” But he and Woods are alike in that way; they’d each rather keep the focus on the action. Reed has admired Woods his entire golf career; maybe that’s where he gets the approach.

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