If you can’t take the cheat, get out of the kitchen

Content muses of the 2019 PGA Tour, No. 3: Patrick Reed finishes strong


Happy second day of Hanukkah and merry Christmas Eve Jr.! You know what also happens on the 23rd day of December? The Airing of Grievances. That occasion seems well suited to Patrick Reed, the third-place finisher on our list of the content gods of the 2019 PGA Tour. The golf world’s got a lotta problems with the 2018 Masters champion—now, he’s gonna hear about it!

The Year in P-Reed

Let’s hug it out, b—never mind

After the fiasco that was the 2018 Ryder Cup, Patrick Reed (and members of his family) publicly blamed Jordan Spieth for the demise of the once-dynamic Reed-Spieth partnership. In January, the exes found themselves paired up at Torrey Pines. Aware of the scrutiny, Spieth went in for the hug. It was a decent idea! But Reed’s forced smile—and the PGA Tour’s deletion of an initial tweet that dared to acknowledge the existence of “hard feelings”—suggested some lingering tension.

Nicklaus, Palmer, Watson… Reed

On January 31, an exceptionally thirsty European Tour announced that it had awarded Reed an honorary lifetime membership. The only other Americans to have received this distinction bear the first names Jack, Arnold, and Tom.

It was so odd and random that conspiracy theories began to circulate. Was the European Tour trying to get “Captain America” to turn Benedict Arnold for the 2020 Ryder Cup?

Team Reed in the wilderness

How is Patrick Reed just No. 3 on our list? Well, the truth is, aside from shovel-gate, he had a pretty quiet year PR-wise. He also didn’t play particularly well for most of the season, failing to crack the top 10 in a 2019 PGA Tour event until late June.

He struggled so much that his team (which, as has been widely commented on, consists chiefly of his in-laws) started making some… interesting moves. 

In March, Reed’s wife Justine called in David Leadbetter to look at Reed’s swing. Soon Lead Poi—ahem, Leadbetter was officially part of Team Reed. Now, coaching changes aren’t unusual, but there were a couple of interesting wrinkles here. First, Reed’s comments to the media suggested that he didn’t have much say in the decision: “The great thing is we’re basically on the same wavelength, [Justine] and I. Because of that, before I even finished my round I didn’t even have to tell her that, hey, is there any way we can get someone in to just take a peek.” Okay! Second, it became clear that Kevin Kirk, Reed’s longtime coach, would not be let go. He and Leadbetter would be co-coaches. Which seems awkward.

A few months later, still struggling, Reed sought help at a local Club Champion, more typically the haunt of 15-handicap corporate lawyers than elite tour pros. But laugh all you want: he did play better from that point on.

A lonely heart like Pagliacci

That brings us to Reed’s recent exploits—which we assume are fresh in your mind, so we won’t give them the 700-page treatment that they will surely deserve 20 or 30 years from now. Let’s just remember how much happened in how little time:

  • 12/6: Cameras catch Reed improving his lie in a waste bunker at the Hero World Challenge; PGA Tour officials meet with him after the round and penalize him two strokes; Reed gives a weird, sweaty interview, blames the camera angle; Slugger White works himself into a lather about Reed’s gentlemanliness
  • 12/7: Reed finishes two shots back of first place, earning $250,000 and 18.40 OWGR points; he tells the media that he believes he gets a “raw deal
  • 12/8: Reed retains his spot on the U.S. Presidents Cup team; the atmosphere on the flight to Australia is reportedly jovial; International team member Cameron Smith lights Reed up in the press
  • 12/9: Reed says if he had cheated, he would have done it way better; Justin Thomas makes light of the incident during a practice round
  • 12/10: Brandel Chamblee gets after Reed on Golf Channel in a way only Brandel seems able to do
  • Presidents Cup, Days 1-2: Reed takes some heckling from the Australian crowd; he and Webb Simpson lose both of their matches; Simpson offers an unsolicited defense of his partner; taunting the crowd after a made putt, Reed mimics a shoveling motion, much to the PGA Tour’s apparent delight
  • Presidents Cup, Day 3: Reed and Simpson lose a third straight match; Reed’s caddie, brother-in-law Kessler Karain, initiates a physical altercation with a rude fan; Karain gets booted from the event and releases a bizarre statement; the U.S. team and a few friendly members of the media try to make it all about the crowds, and the Big Easy kindly tells them to put their big-boy pants on
  • Presidents Cup, Day 4: With his swing coach (Kirk, not Leadbetter) on the bag, Reed finally wins a match, defeating C.T. Pan and helping Team USA come back from a two-point deficit; afterwards, he says, “The past couple days were tough”

We hear ya, Patrick. But look on the bright side: literally the only people holding you accountable for your actions are some drunk Aussies and a bunch of golf dorks on Twitter.

Quick Hooks

Did you know that Adam Scott hasn’t won a tournament in nearly four years? He broke the drought this weekend with a two-shot victory at the Australian PGA Championship. Young gun Min Woo Lee tied for third and P-Reed antagonist Cameron Smith was T-10. Australian PGA Championship Leaderboard

Now here’s a feel-good story for the holiday season. Golf.com’s Josh Berhow bought an old Acushnet Bulls Eye at a flea market, saw that it had a name on it, and went about tracking down its original owner. Full Story

Max Homa has been roasting people’s swings on Twitter, and he’s better at it than most people are at most things.

The Latest

Shotgun Start: The 2019 Year in Review: Part III

This Monday episode picks up with more Year-in-Review discussion and goes deep on the historic Masters. But first, in news, Brendan and Andy hit on Adam Scott’s Aussie PGA win, Fred Couples’ disclosure that Tiger was not healthy enough to play Saturday at Prez Cup, and the 12 new names going to the 2020 Masters via the year’s final OWGR ranking. The Year-in-Review portion of the episode hits on Justine Reed bringing in David Leadbetter, a wild week of Kuch-Sergio drama at the Match Play, the legendary underdog Bjerregaard story, and Tony Romo’s DR adventures. Then they get to the Masters, where they relive some of the amusing pre-Tournament storylines, Bryson figuring out how shafts really work, and the outrageous Friday of content from the slide tackle to ZJ’s false start to Kiradech’s tumble to the balloons. It concludes with some of the best moments of Tiger’s final round. Listen on iTunes, Spotify, and Stitcher.

The Must-Sees of Public Golf Architecture in America

For an introduction to this ongoing list, check out its home on our website.

Rustic Canyon Golf Course (Moorpark, California)


“Minimalism” has become a troubled concept in recent years. Initially used to describe Tom Doak’s and Coore & Crenshaw’s efforts to alter the natural landscape as little as possible, it has become a catch-all term for the current era of design. The fact is, though, that very few 21st-century courses have been built in a truly minimalist fashion. That’s one reason why Rustic Canyon is so important. In molding this course from a dry Southern California valley, Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner, with help from Geoff Shackelford, really didn’t move much dirt. They focused instead on finding great natural features, from the earthquake fissure on the par-5 1st to the hillside saddle on the par-4 16th. Rustic Canyon shows that minimalism isn’t just about style. It’s about treating the environment with respect, keeping costs low, and doing just enough to create stellar golf. Full Profile of Rustic Canyon

Insider tip: Rustic Canyon is worth making a trip to see by itself, but if you’re coming from out of state and have an extra day, add nearby Soule Park, Buenaventura, and Olivas Links to your itinerary. All four are either city- or county-owned, all have cheap green fees, and together they make one of the best bang-for-your-buck golf loops in the country. -Garrett Morrison

(Browse the Rustic Canyon prints in our pro shop!)

Pro Shop

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