11 June 2018

The Controversial Captain America

Four years ago, Patrick Reed declared himself to be one of the top-five players in the world after he won the WGC at Doral. His comment invited some laughs. Unperturbed by the mockery, Reed remained convinced of his words, adding further fuel to the fire of ridicule.

Then, at the 2018 Masters, Reed wrote a new chapter for the golf history books by becom-ing a major champion. The critics were suddenly silent.

You may gather, the 27-year-old is known for his brash attitude and for openly speaking his mind. In a sport that is unaccustomed to these personality types, Reed has become an un-popular sports figure. Here’s what’s behind the bravado: 

What are Reed’s memories of golf when he was a junior?
Reed's father, Bill, presented him with a set of plastic clubs when he was born wanting to get an early start. By age 9, Reed and his father would drive to Hank Haney's ranch in McKinney, Texas, to practice all day. "I'd get there at 7:30 in the morning on snowy days, turn on the heater and hit until noon. I'd be hitting until dark. You know those huge pails of balls the size of laundry baskets? I'd go through four of those a day. I don't think you can hit as many balls as I did without getting to be pretty good," said Reed to Golf Digest.

Who is the caddie who helped him to victory at Augusta National?
Reed’s caddie is Kessler Karain who is the brother of Justine, Reed’s wife. Before Kessler took Reed’s bag, Justine used to caddie for him during his first two years on tour, including at his first win on the PGA Tour. Kessler replaced Justine as Reed's caddy since Justine's pregnancy and the birth of their daughter Windsor-Wells.

Tiger Woods is Reed’s idol. How does Tiger influence Reed’s game?
Tiger has been Reed’s inspiration since he was young. Reed wanted to grow up to be like Tiger. Haney's ranch in Texas was chosen as the place to take golf lessons because at that time Haney was teaching Woods. After Reed's coach at the facility, Peter Murphy, showed Reed videos of Haney teaching Tiger, it encouraged Reed to get better. “Patrick took a lot away from Tiger's demeanor, and his intimidation, the way Tiger had an air about him," said Murphy, as quoted by ESPN. "Patrick tried to portray a little of that when playing him-self. He wanted to show people that he wouldn't back down.”

During the 2016 Ryder Cup, Reed earned the nickname Captain America because of his success representing the United States in the team events. How exactly did that nick-name appear? 

In a volatile afternoon four-ball match of the biennial men’s golf team competition, with his teammate Jordan Spieth, Reed dominated the game to defeat Justin Rose and Henrik Sten-son. 
"We've all seen it before," said Spieth, as quoted by ESPN. "He's Captain America for us. It was really, really fun to be a part of. A show was put on by Patrick Reed today." 

The nickname reflected Reed's determination in the competition and his fearless approach of playing with so much passion and patriotic energy. Reed contributed the most points (3.5) for the winning team U.S.A.

How did Reed prepare for his winning Masters tournament?
After playing in four Masters with poor results, Reed decided to meticulously prepare for this year’s event. According to the PGA Tour’s Sean Martin, as quoted by Golf Monthly, just a few days before practice round, Reed practiced on holes 1, 2, 12, and 13, and walked with a local Augusta caddie to look the best lines off the tee and to find the flat putts on the green.

Then, according to his swing coach Kevin Kirk, Reed hit approximately 3,000 putts. Next, in his preparations, Reed spent a total of eight hours on the golf course in addition to the prac-tice rounds. He’d also already spent 16 hours on the course practicing for every single situa-tion before the tournament. All that hard work paid off.

Despite being known as one of America’s most talented player, Reed is one of the most unpopular guys on Tour. Why is that?
It’s thought to have begun with his college experience at the University of Georgia, which Reed left as a freshman. Rumor is, that Reed allegedly broke rules during qualifying rounds and also took items from teammates’ lockers, but Reed denied the accusations. Other than that, it’s said that Reed often acted arrogantly and was overly competitive with teammates. He was also arrested twice for underage drinking. 

After this negative start to his college education, Reed moved to Augusta University (then Augusta State). There he helped his new school win two NCAA golf championships, yet the problems seemed to follow him. This bad reputation has stuck with to him to date and made him unpopular on the PGA Tour. However, Reed has proved through his achievements that the scorn and teasing he has faced has only fuelled his fire to win.


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