Patrick Reed bounded down the seventh fairway on Friday grinning from ear to ear. A blossoming friendship with young Scot Robert MacIntyre was only partially influencing his newfound swagger as the pair polished off two excellent second rounds at the Turkish Airlines Open.
Reed was mostly revelling in the prestige of being one of Tiger Woods’ four picks for the United States in the Presidents Cup in December in Melbourne. The former Masters champion was not a resounding choice, having flicked the match to ignite the flammable atmosphere in Paris last year in the aftermath of Europe’s beatdown of Team USA.
Reed’s blame grenade was placed firmly at the feet of Jordan Spieth then, making Woods’ decision to snub the three-time major winner, as well as Rickie Fowler, especially intriguing.
But with each smooth twirl of his club on Friday, Reed punched his way towards an opportunistic seven under par round of 65 in Antalya – the perfect riposte to his critics – moving him to within four of leader Matthias Schwab on -12. And with the cat out the bag, the gleeful Texan was thrilled to finally be able to look forward to his next outing as the pantomime villain of the United States.
“It’ll be my first time in Australia and I can’t wait,” Reed admitted after surging up the leaderboard at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal. “I hear the fans and people over there are amazing.
“I look forward to it and getting those crowds riled up, that’s kind of what I like to do. It’ll be fun. I can’t wait to go out and play the best I can.”
Reed may well ruffle some feathers down under, but he also proved he has an excellent poker face when required, having fended off an inquisitive MacIntyre’s attempts on Thursday at discovering whether Woods had already informed him. Of course he had following Reed’s eighth place finish in China last week, allowing Reed to sleep easy while Woods made his announcement at 3am in Turkey. “You knew,” MacIntyre laughed when reconvening with Reed on their first hole on Friday.
Woods picked himself alongside Reed, Tony Finau and Gary Woodland, completing the 12-man team alongside world No 1 Brooks Koepka, Patrick Cantlay, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson and Justin Thomas.
While Reed is evidently mesmerised by the stars and stripes and a strong patriot, his admiration for Woods made the news that little bit more special.
“It’s awesome,” Reed confessed. “Tiger and I, we’ve always had a good relationship.
“It’s one of those things, when Tiger, arguably the best player to ever live on this planet, when he calls you and says, ‘hey, I believe in you and I’m picking you to be on the team’, it means a lot.
“It means you have something that can bring to the team and help the team out. Now we’re on the team, we need to play the best we can and show him it was the right decision to pick me.”
Reed remains adamant that Spieth, his former partner in crime with five points out of six in two Ryder Cups before being separated at Le Golf National, will bounce back from this setback.
“I haven’t spoken to them, but those two guys, Rickie and Jordan, they’re two unbelievable golfers,” Reed maintained. “Even though they’re not on the team this year, we know they’ll be on hundreds of teams, they’re going to be out here for a while and playing on a lot of teams.
“I know it’ll probably fuel their fire, they’ll grind and play that much better, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they have an amazing year next year.
“It’s Jordan, he was my first teammate, he’s going to bounce back. It’s just golf, you have your highs and lows, and when you’re in your lows, champions figure out a way to get out of it and bounce right back up. I’m sure he’ll bounce right back up.”
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