Why no one likes golf’s latest champion
PATRICK Reed was a villain long before he won the Masters and beat out fan favourites like Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler.
It goes back to his troubled year at the University of Georgia, amid accusations of cheating and stealing from his teammates, and has followed him throughout his professional career.
In the book "Slaying the Tiger: A Year Inside the Ropes on the New PGA Tour," by Shane Ryan, Reed's alleged travails at Georgia are detailed.
It all began when he was a freshman, at a qualifying round before a tournament. He hit a ball deep into the rough; there was another ball closer to the fairway. According to sources Ryan spoke to, Reed prepared to hit the other ball when a few teammates confronted him. Reed pleaded ignorance, but they didn't buy it.
Reed has been asked about it since and has strongly denied cheating, yet Jason Payne, an assistant golf coach at Georgia while Reed was there, confirmed the teammates' story.
"The story that has been reported by Shane Ryan is an accurate account of his college career at UGA, including the suspicions held by his former teammates," he said in a statement to blogger Stephanie Wei.
There were also allegations of theft, with items and $400 cash going missing from the locker room. Teammates blamed Reed, who denied it.
The run-ins with teammates, combined with a pair of arrests for intoxication, led Reed to leave Georgia.
According to Ryan, he kept the second arrest hidden from his coaches and teammates, but the golf coach, Chris Haack, found out, and trust was lost. Reed transferred to Augusta State College, which he led to Division I titles in 2010 and 2011.
On the Tour, Reed's reputation for abrasiveness and cockiness continued.
During the 2014 Ryder Cup, he put his finger to his mouth and shushed the European crowd.
In November 2014, he was heard uttering a homophobic slur after a missing a putt in the WGC-HSBC Champions in China, for which he apologised.
A month ago, at Bay Hill, the 27-year-old Reed wasn't given relief by an official after hitting a shot in the bushes.
"I guess my name needs to be Jordan Spieth, guys," he said to the gallery, which was picked up by a fan who was filming it.
Reed hasn't exactly embraced fans. He's not a favourite among crowds, and he doesn't seem to be trying to make inroads with anyone.
"I don't know. Why don't you ask them? I mean, I have no idea, and honestly I don't really care what people say on Twitter or what they say if they are cheering for me or not cheering for me," he recently said, when asked why he isn't a fan favourite.
"I'm out here to do my job, and that's to play golf. I feel like if I'm doing it the right way, then that's all that really matters."