Bedminster, New Jersey – Patrick Reed had just carved his close in fourth, and although the ball was gone in Friday’s overcast sky, you could tell by sound and by his position that it was the shot he wanted to hit, and confirmed it seconds later when it came 10 feet down from the hole. Even for a player of his stature, it was a good shot, one of those shots that underscores the span between the pros and the rest of us.
But the momentary dread broke when two men in their mid-twenties started screaming before the ball settled. “Oh man, man Patty, that’s good! How good is that? Can you see where this is going? Look how good it is!” It was innocuous, albeit somewhat obnoxious, given the size and that there was less Eight people around the box. They were screams you’d hear at any golf event and the screams were usually ignored. Reed just turned around, feet between himself and the fans, and smiled. “Don’t worry, I knew where to go,” he said. Whether it was his response or just the fact that they were both recognized, the two men were by their side and let Reed know they were pulling on him as Red headed toward the green.
Now, when it comes to Reed’s and fan interactions, those who follow the sport understand that’s usually not the case. Of course, this is a bond that promised turmoil, and one of its bowls of chaos offers a different product than usual. On that front, give LIV Golf this one: It has sights not usually seen in other tournaments. While there was plenty of sensory load on Friday at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, one of the strangest sights was the sight of Reed—the golfer’s lone wolf—seemingly, finally, being part of a group.
“To be here and have the support that we have here, not just with the players but with the entire staff and the tournaments we go to, our spectators and to be part of something new and to be part of something to get a seven-under-64,” Reed said after forming a squad of seven sub-64 to get share of first round progress,
Before going too far down this road, it’s worth noting that there are a lot of – how do we put this? –synchronization this week. Part of that comes with the presence of the former President of the United States, Donald Trump, who on Friday afternoon walked into the 16th square in the middle of the competition to watch the players do their best not to embarrass themselves in front of him and the crowd. He follows his every move. But it’s also the fact that there’s no shortage of controversy about this league: who’s a part of it, who’s behind it and what it’s all trying to achieve. So the concerned parties are doing their best to keep this controversy away. This includes LIV bringing in phony comedians to lower tension at press conferences; When a difficult question is asked by the media, there is a harmless or silly follow-up question to provide strength to the players. We say this to say: Every player appears to be on their best behavior – with the fans, the staff and with each other, and that sentiment was best illustrated at the range on Friday morning.
Pro golf is a fraternal group, but the training facilities for other tournaments don’t feature as many hugs, fist-pumps, howls, and friendly discussions as they were on display at Trump Bedminster. Maybe it’s the feeling that comes with guaranteed pay and signing bonuses, or the fox mentality of those who have been suspended for their previous rides. Any satirist can cite it as an example that this university leans towards show; The pro can say that the players are really into the team dynamic. It depends on the viewer’s perspective, something that won’t be proven for some time.
Except for Reed… well, “brotherhood” was never his jam. He likes to keep things indoors, and has been known to avoid the company of others when he’s in the tournament. Red prides himself on being unfazed by his environment, and he owes the credit to an inner charge known only to him. It can be scary. It can be dangerous and can give off an unwelcome feeling. He is not there to talk but to work and compete. If you’ve ever seen it in range, the earbuds are always there, doing their best to keep out the noise. Honestly, throughout Reed’s career, there has been a lot of noise.
However, it was Reed on Friday, looking like mayor of Bedminster. Watching him walk the field line – barbs, exchanges of subtleties, every remark generates a giggle – one would find it hard to explain this is one of the most divisive personalities in the sport. Yes, he was there to work, and while the other guys seemed to be hitting balls for warmth, Reed moved back and forth from crowded hitting bays to a more spacious part of the range with coach Kevin Kirk fixing his driver mechanics. But Red also seems to be (gasping) having fun.
There is certainly a case that if anyone is truly excited about the team element of LIV Golf, it’s Reed, whose reputation (at least the good part) bolstered by early career success in the Ryder Cup and Chiefs Cup. “Let’s be honest, for me golf is always a great game, and always fun,” Reed said. “To be part of a team we have four Americans (Reed, Dustin Johnson, Pat Perez, Taylor Gotch) on our team, it’s one of those things that kind of feels like a small team event. I can go in there and play for something other than just myself; I’m playing from Yes my teammates. I love being able to look at the leaderboard and not only see my name, but also look up my buddies, and see, well, what do we need to do to try to stay on top of the leaderboard. It gives you a little bit more advantage and a bit more than Flames to get out there and play.”
And Reid, like a number of players, also appears to be energized by the shortened schedule. He stated in his introductory press conference that despite the fallout from joining, he felt LIV brought back a quality of life he couldn’t find on the tour. He maintained that his presence on the road and away from his children, and the possibility that he wasn’t a good father, was starting to affect his playing.
It wears on you as an athlete, it wears on you as a person, as a father, and that to me, I feel like this is the best decision ever.”…Now I can compete at the highest level, but also I prepare and I prepare For each individual event and being able to go home, and though I’ll be home to get ready, I’ll be able to spend time with the kids.”
At the same time, while this league has been a golden umbrella for injury-prone players, rank and file names and those stuck in the purgatory that is golf in the forties, Reed, 31, is a rare LIV member who is young, in His start, unencumbered by injury or off-track questions. But Reed also, whether he admits it or not, is in dire need of a fresh start. He has not been the same player since the incident at the 2021 Farmers Insurance Open regarding the exemption from a ball plugged into the rough, a player who, while following the rules of golf, broke an unwritten rule for many, with fellow players and CBS Sports broadcasts taking the eventual champion. on the task. Along with previous allegations, along with the curious activity of a Twitter account believed to be linked to his family and rumors of problems with him Perceived therapy From the PGA Tour, the hype – even for Reed – was way too loud.
So it’s no surprise that Reed – who has had only one top-10 finish in his last 16 rounds – finished T-3 on his LIV debut in Portland and has a share of the lead at Bedminster.
“At the end of the day, you keep adding to the strength of the fields and the efficiency of our players, it doesn’t matter what we do,” Reid said. “You have to grind, you have to focus, you have to be 110 percent to have a chance of winning golf tournaments. Maybe I can speak for all of us here; there’s nothing like going out and getting a chance late on a Sunday to win a golf tournament and try to win. with a cup.”
But it’s worth noting that the fun and friendly guy on the range was the same guy on the course. His guard, always up, was off. “I think audiences are enjoying it,” Reed said of the experience. “They get more relaxed, kind of pumped up more, especially if you’re playing well.”
On the first hole, when a fan shocked how far Reed was from his second shot—one that Reed put seven feet away—Reed turned to his right, stared, smiled and pointed his fingers 2-1-4. Kessler Karen, Reid’s son-in-law and sister-in-law, Kessler Karen, added, “They rinsed the seven-iron iron, forcing Reed to nod and smile again. He was talking to playmates Paul Casey and Abraham Anser, chatting with volunteers, and was wise with Trump. If he wasn’t enjoying himself, well, it was a great performance.
This does not excuse or condone the clouds that have followed Red to this point. It is not to impose an arc of redemption. Not to judge or approve, nor to change the mind of those who think they know who he is. It’s just saying it doesn’t seem to matter, not here at least.
Here, at LIV Golf, Reed’s past is just that, overshadowed by the newness of the circuit, along with the league’s many concerns. Here, Patrick Reed can only golf. No wonder the man seems happy.