This bothered me. In the immediate aftermath of Patrick Reed’s recent victory in the Masters, nine-out-of-10 of the follow-up articles seemed to be about his background and his family.
Almost none of the post-tournament coverage concentrated on the golf. That didn’t seem quite right to my way of thinking. And it certainly wasn’t what I wanted to read.
I get that when someone wins his first major the world needs and wants to know where the new star came from. Fans are interested in the “back story.” But I don’t feel like, when Patrick has just finished first in the game’s biggest tournament, that his relationship with his parents or what went on during his college days should have been the central storylines.
For me, the big story was that Patrick won the Masters in pretty impressive style against a pretty strong field. All of which he achieved without his best stuff on the final day, never mind that he made the best player of the last 10 years – Rory McIlroy – look decidedly average in the process. So more should have been written about how good an effort that was. To my mind anyway.
It felt like everyone was ganging up on Patrick. I know he has had plenty of opportunities to have his say on all of the above. But he obviously doesn’t want to talk about it, which is his choice in a free society. And until he changes his mind on that, it seems like we should have spent a lot more time talking about the golf he played en route to winning his first major.
Golf is what Patrick is all about actually. He’s all-in on the game. No one on the PGA Tour works harder than he does. He’s at the course all day every day. He plays more tournaments than anyone else at the top level of the rankings. And he’s a member of the European Tour too. It looks to me like he just wants to play golf.
Going forward, I hope that the media gets past Patrick’s past. He could probably help that by talking about it all, at least a little, from his perspective. – Geoff Ogilvy
Patrick is actually a pretty impressive guy, albeit one who has rubbed a few people the wrong way. He is certainly one of the last people you would want to be battling down the stretch over the closing holes on Sunday. He would be one of the hardest guys to beat. I’m betting he would be close to the top of any locker-room poll on who his peers would
least like to have to see off with a trophy on the line.
On a personal level, I have barely had any interaction with Patrick. All we’ve ever said to each other is ‘Hi, how you doin’?’ I think most players would say the same of their relationship with him. He doesn’t socialise much. He comes to the course to work. He is often wearing headphones as he does so. He goes to the range. He hits balls. He putts. He chips. He plays most of his practice rounds alone. And if someone is alongside him, he is just doing his job as Patrick does his. It’s not a social thing.
So yes, he has rubbed guys the wrong way. But loner-types do that anyway. Because not many get to know them. Patrick is a little like David Duval was when he first played the Tour. From what I understand, Duval didn’t talk to many people. He focused on his golf and did his own thing. Yet he turned out to be wise and smart. And once he stopped playing, his personality came out. Patrick might be similar. It feels that way to me anyway.
What impressed me most about his Masters victory was that he won without playing anything like his best over the final 18-holes. Sunday was harder work for him than Thursday-Saturday had been, which was predictable. It was his first time in the last group at a major. The Masters might be the most nerve-inducing one of the four. And he was playing with Rory. So his performance was understandable.
Tiger Woods used to win majors that way all the time. Yes, he could blow everyone away when he played great. But just as often he found a way to win despite being far from his best. Patrick did that too. Yes, he got a big break when Rory ‘went away’ early. Yes, the likes of Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler were coming from a long way back. But there were some pretty serious roars echoing around Augusta National over the last few holes. That must have been intimidating. But Patrick dealt with it all.
RIGHT: Ogilvy says Reed has fewer weaknesses than most Tour players. PHOTO: Patrick Smith/Getty Images.
As for Rory, he also reminds me of Tiger. He seems to be incredibly comfortable when he is leading. But when he is chasing he isn’t quite so impressive. Tiger was like that too. I’m not sure what that means. When guys like that hit the front they just keep going away. But when they are behind they maybe try a little too hard.
I’m not sure chasing Patrick – of all people – was necessarily the best thing for Rory. The last Ryder Cup at Hazeltine showed us there is a bit of rivalry there. And Patrick – again like Tiger – reacts strongly when challenged, especially in the media. So Rory saying as much as he did on the Saturday evening was maybe the best/worst way of bringing out the best in his rival. Patrick always seems to do well when he is underestimated. He has an “I’m better than you think I am, watch this” kind of attitude in those circumstances.
To me, that is one of the best attributes any golfer can have. Patrick plays well when he has something to prove. Having said that, nothing he did was what beat Rory. Rory beat Rory.
Going forward, I hope that the media gets past Patrick’s past. He could probably help that by talking about it all, at least a little, from his perspective. We don’t need to know any of the gruesome details. But it would be nice to know more about Patrick Reed. He just needs to give us all something else to talk about. If he doesn’t, the same old stuff is going to keep coming up. Unfortunately, that is the modern way of things. Judgement rather than observation dominates certain areas of the press.
So it is just not fair to say that many of Patrick’s peers were not pleased when he won. And I don’t think it is true either. Besides, I want to read and hear more about what a complete golfer he is. He maybe struggles to fade the ball at times, but he seemed to be doing that pretty well at the Masters.
Indeed, that is the only nit-pick I have with Patrick’s all-round game. His short game is outrageous. He is incredibly aggressive around the greens. The ball is always going at the hole with conviction. He doesn’t seem to be worried about the four-foot putt coming back. Which is no surprise. He is a really good putter. All in all, he has fewer weaknesses than most. He’ll win more majors. Of that I’m sure.