New book by Patrick Reed, Ryder Cup, PGA Tour, accusations, drama
Golf never forgets – and it rarely forgives.
Ask Patrick Reed.
The 31-year-old Texan has long been the subject of allegations and accusations of improprieties on and off the golf course, and that has now been brought to light in a new book, ‘The Cup They Couldn’t Lose”, by Shane Ryan. (Hatchet).
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Detailing the long history of the Ryder Cup, Ryan explains how 2020 USA captain Steve Stricker managed to galvanize a team so often unable to beat their European counterparts – and how he solved the perennial problem of Patrick Reed.
Ryan’s relationship with Reed dates back to 2015, when he first wrote about his controversial college career. In 2008, Reed enrolled at the University of Georgia in Athens, but was kicked off the golf team for two alcohol-related offenses. He was also arrested for underage drinking and possession of a fake identity card, was subjected to community service and put on probation.
That was not all.
When items including a watch, putter and $400 disappeared from the locker room, his teammates suspected Reed had taken them, especially since he showed up the next day with a large wad of cash. .
Reed denied the charges.
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His performance on the course was also divided. During a qualifying round, Reed hit his ball in the rough but when they found it, it was, miraculously, closer to the fairway. Convinced he was cheating, Reed was challenged by his teammates but denied any wrongdoing. It was a similar story when Reed attended Augusta State. This time he was accused of erasing knocks on his scorecards and while his teammates voted to kick him out of the team, his manager reduced the penalty to a two-match ban.
Reed led Augusta to two national titles, the second in a showdown with her former college, Georgia. In the final game of his college career, Reed faced former teammate Harris English. According to Ryan, Reed’s Augusta State teammates actually wished England well before the game. Still, “He didn’t,” writes Ryan. “Reed won in a match that one spectator called ‘the death of karma’.” PGA Tour golfer and University of Georgia alum Kevin Kisner thinks none of his former teammates had time for Reed. “I don’t know if they would fuck him if he was on fire,” he says in the book.
Reed’s professional career has also been marked by controversy. Although one of the standout players of the 2016 Ryder Cup – where the United States won 17-11 at Hazeltine National, Chaska, Minnesota – by the time a French event took place at Le Golf National in September 2018, near Paris, it seemed that he was persona non grata. Despite forming a successful partnership with Jordan Spieth at Hazeltine, earning him the nickname ‘Captain America’, 2018 captain Jim Furyk broke up the pair when Spieth asked not to play with Reed, preferring team up with Justin Thomas.
Other American captains tried to accommodate Reed. In 2019, Tiger Woods selected him for the Presidents Cup match against the international team managed by Ernie Els of South Africa in Melbourne, Australia, but, as Ryan writes, “taking someone like Reed for a tag team event, it’s taking a big risk – to balance his incredible talent in match play with the decent chance that he could become a totally malignant clubhouse cancer.
Golf analyst Brandel Chamblee, meanwhile, suggested that by choosing Reed, Woods had “made a deal with the devil”.
He was right.
At the Hero World Classic in the Bahamas before the Presidents Cup, Reed was spotted trying to improve his ball lie, not once but twice. Reed blamed the angle of the television cameras, which made him look worse than he was, but he was still penalized two strokes. As Ryan writes, “Making a deal with the devil is only useful if the devil can give you something significant in return, and everyone was watching, especially [assistant captain] Steve Stricker.
Even the international team weighed in. “To give a bit of a bullish answer like the camera angle, it’s pretty high there,” Australian Cameron Smith said. “I have no sympathy for anyone who cheats. I hope the crowd gives it not just to him but to everyone next week.
And they did.
Reed was savagely abused by the crowd at every turn. Armed police were even assigned to walk with him on the course. It was so vicious that Reed’s caddy, Kessler Karain, went after a fan. “I had had enough…the guy was about 3 feet away from Patrick and said, ‘You f – king suck’. I got off the cart and pushed it,” Karain explains in the book. As USA edged out the game 16-14, Stricker had seen with his own eyes how Reed’s mere presence had derailed the team’s chances so little – and he wasn’t going to risk that à la Ryder. Cup.
Freed from the troubles that followed Reed as a puppy, Team USA rode like never before, securing a record victory over Europe, winning 19-9. Petty squabbles were forgotten, egos left at the locker room door and any possibility of disruption eradicated. Finally, American players were a team, not just a dozen millionaire golfers put together. And, as Ryan writes, it showed “what happens when American power is no longer stifled by mismanagement, but elevated and ultimately unleashed by superb captaincy.”
But, more importantly, “he had learned which personalities fit best in the team room.” And that, clearly, did not mean Patrick Reed.
This article originally appeared on the New York Post and has been republished with permission