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Finally, after the biggest win of his career at the Cadillac Championship last March, ’s Ian O’Connor dragged some of the skeletons from the closet in a Masters-week story called “Patrick Reed’s Turbulent Rise.” O’Connor’s research, spanning courthouses and coaches and parents and former college and high school teammates, lifted the veil, at least slightly, on Reed’s youth. It’s not incumbent upon them to provide unfavorable information about themselves, either from their past or their Tour lives, and in fact being honest can, at times, have a detrimental effect. But I curious to see his reaction to the story, and the fact that he had feigned ignorance until his wife essentially called him out was telling—it had hit home, and it was something he worried about. In the brutal heat of midsummer, he’d be the only kid at a tournament in khakis, and even when he came close to passing out, he’d never succumb.The story made it clear that his peers had never really liked him, especially at the college level. Before moving on, I brought up the idea that when you looked at the story, there was nothing too damning beyond the kind of alcohol infraction experienced by hordes of college students every year—including myself. Two of Patrick’s dominant personality traits emerged early, and both worried his parents, Bill and Jeannette. He expected so much of himself that when he went into a slump, he’d transform into a sullen powder keg of frustration and anger, to the point that his parents wondered whether or not he was truly enjoying the sport.That same fall, several items went missing from the Georgia locker room, including a watch, a Scotty Cameron putter, and 0 cash.When Reed showed up the next day with a large wad of cash, sources say a teammate confronted him and asked how he’d come by the money.
As it happens, a big story on Reed is coming out in a major outlet soon, and since it proved impossible to publish anywhere else on such short notice, I’m showcasing it here before that story hits. Instead, think of it as a sample of my work from the past year—a few vignettes on a common theme. —Shane Ryan) Patrick Reed: Twenty-four years old, built like Babe Ruth—short, heavy, barrel-chested, with a build that makes you think “stocky” and “powerful” rather than “fat”—quick to anger even by pro golf standards, and a born winner.
When he approached the spot, he found another ball sitting closer to the fairway, and was preparing to hit it when several of his teammates confronted him.
Reed pled ignorance, but the other Georgia players were convinced he had been caught red-handed trying to cheat.
The other three are Tiger Woods, Rory Mc Ilroy, and Sergio Garcia—names that demonstrate the lofty company he keeps. There has always been something a little off-key brewing beneath the surface of his story—a swirl of rumors dating back to his college days, when he lasted a year at Georgia before transferring to Augusta State and winning two national championships, the second of them against the school that had kicked him out.
There’s much to be said about his professional life, and that story is ongoing.