- Patrick Reed won the 2018 Masters on Sunday, reigniting some criticisms that have followed him through his career.
- Reed has been labelled a villain in golf because of a complicated past that has included allegations of cheating and stealing, two underage-drinking arrests, and reports that he has an abrasive personality.
- Reed’s controversies mostly took place in college, but some people have been turned off by his temperament and confidence since he turned pro in 2011.
Patrick Reed won the 2018 Masters with a dominant first three rounds and a steady, gritty final day in which he held off surges from some of golf’s biggest names.
For all of Reed’s brilliance at Augusta, he didn’t seem to be the golf world’s favourite champion, particularly after defeating fan favourites like Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, and Rickie Fowler.
Reed may be the closest thing golf has to a villain, thanks to a complicated past that is somewhat shrouded in mystery.
He started with a tumultuous freshman season at the University Georgia when he was just 17. As documented by Shane Ryan in the book “Slaying the Tiger” and by a profile by ESPN’s Ian O’Connor, Reed was immensely unpopular during his one year there.
Some of the details are sparse, but Reed is said to have been abrasive, often coming off as arrogant and overly competitive with teammates. He ended up practicing and playing apart from the team.
Reed was also accused of cheating on the course by his teammates. They also suspected he stole equipment and cash from the locker room, though there was no proof that he did.
According to Ryan, Reed’s reputation still holds among some golfers on the PGA Tour, with some saying “Hide your things, Patrick’s here” when he enters the locker room.
Reed was also twice arrested on charges of underage drinking – the second time, according to Ryan, seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back at Georgia.
Reed transferred to Augusta State, where similar personality problems followed him. He blossomed on the course, helping the school win two national championships. But according to Ryan, Reed was suspended to start his sophomore season; some said it was for cheating on the course.
According to Ryan, before a title match, Reed’s Augusta State teammates approached a player from Georgia Tech and told him, “We want to win the national title, but we hope you kick the s— out of Patrick Reed.”
Since Reed went pro in 2011, his personality has still seemed to rub some the wrong way.
In 2014, he claimed he was one of the top five golfers in the world – a boast many felt was too early.
He has sometimes ignored reporters and refused to answer questions after bad rounds. And he was once caught on the course chastising himself for a bad hole and using an anti-LGBT slur, saying: “Nice f—ing three-putt, you f—ing f—–. Go f—ing hang yourself.”
Last month, during a dispute with an official over a drop, Reed was caught on film saying, “I guess my name needs to be Jordan Spieth, guys.” He later requested that another official review the matter because he needed an “unbiased source.”
Reed also appears to be estranged from his family. According to Ryan, Reed did not invite his parents to his wedding, and some posts on social media from his family seem to hint at a rift.
Reed has said he believes the media paints him as a villain, and he seems aware of his reputation in the golf world. After winning the Masters on Sunday, Reed was asked about getting a tepid round of applause from the crowd while McIlroy got a roar.
“That’s another thing that just kind of played into my hand,” Reed said. “Not only did it fuel my fire a little bit, but also it just takes the pressure off of me and adds it back to him.”
He added: “You had a lot of the guys picking him to win over me, and it’s one of those things that the more chatter you hear in your ear about expectations and everything, the harder it is to play golf.”
More Patrick Reed coverage:
- Fans had a field day when Imagine Dragons got a surprising shoutout after Patrick Reed won the Masters
- Meet Patrick Reed, the controversial Masters champion whose wife was his caddy and who hasn’t talked to his family in 6 years
- Patrick Reed did not wear his signature colour at the Masters and he likely won’t be allowed to wear it at the majors anytime soon
- Unlikely Masters winner Patrick Reed credits his success to listening to a specific song before play – and it holds an important lesson on peak performance
- Patrick Reed more than doubled his season money total by winning the Masters
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