Patrick Reed insists that as easily as he puts in his earbuds and hits his playlist, the world’s noise is silenced.
Maybe it is.
Maybe it’s as simple as cranking up Post Malone, The Weeknd (I’m told they’re very popular these days) or just some good old George Strait to let Reed effectively go underwater and into his own fiercely competitive world.
He’s not the first athlete to attempt to tune out the world but, at the same time, such competitors are fueled by the desire to prove something to the world. Reed seems to feast on the controversy that swirls around him, diving into it the way most of us consume an open bag of potato chips.
Reed knows what’s been said and is being said about him and he keeps marching forward. For all the self-inflicted damage he’s done to himself – a mea culpa after the rules incident in the Bahamas would have done him a world of good – Reed seems intent on proving the old adage that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
It was classic Reed, winning the WGC-Mexico Championship on Sunday while the words of Brooks Koepka and Peter Kostis ricocheted around social media. Rory McIlroy may be No. 1 in the world and Jon Rahm may be No. 1B while Brooks Koepka continues to mend, but there’s a junkyard-dog toughness to Reed that is his greatest asset and elevates him.
Watch Reed play and when he’s on, it’s not like watching McIlroy or Tiger Woods. He hits the occasional stray shot and has a whirlybird finish when he slashes a cut shot off the tee, but he knows how to get the ball in the hole when it counts. He had 45 one-putts in Mexico. That’s fire and ice rolled into a putting stroke.
Reed had several chances to fire back at his critics in Mexico City but he stuck to his script, saying he’s accustomed to the noise around him.
“Honestly, it’s one of those things that at the end of the day, all I can control is me and what I do on and off the golf course, and if I feel like I’m improving each day on and off the golf course and setting a good example for the next generation coming up, the children, as well as my own children, then that’s all I can do, and I feel like I’ve been doing a good job of that, and I feel like I’ve been growing as a person and as a golfer, and that’s all I can really do,” Reed said Sunday night.
“There’s been a lot of stuff said in past years, I guess you could say, with him, and even with me, I feel like unfortunately sometimes we get quite a bad rap.” – Bryson DeChambeau
As much as the PGA Tour would like to have a pristine image, all birdies and big crowds, Reed is a welcome character. It’s tempting to say he’s polarizing, but Reed hasn’t generated as much outward affection as he has criticism. Even now, eight years into his career, Reed remains an acquired taste to many.
If someone wants to put the black hat on Reed, he’s not afraid to wear it whether he believes it fits or not.
Reed is content to go his own way, wrapping himself in the tight circle of his team. He says he texts and talks with Woods, Bubba Watson and Bryson DeChambeau, among others.
“There’s been a lot of stuff said in past years, I guess you could say, with him, and even with me, I feel like unfortunately sometimes we get quite a bad rap,” DeChambeau said after finishing second to Reed in Mexico City.
“There’s things that we’ve done that haven’t been right, but we haven’t really gotten the best rap. We’re still trying to provide great entertainment for everyone. He’s a great player, and he’ll be a great player for a long time, and I have a lot of respect for his game.”
With eight PGA Tour victories, including two World Golf Championships, the Masters and two FedEx Cup playoff events, Reed’s résumé is among the best of his generation.
He’s done it the hard way but that seems to suit him.
Patrick Reed finds a way to get tough in the toughest moments. Photo: Keyur Khamar, PGA Tour via Getty Images
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Tell us how we can improve this post?