SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Jim Furyk and the rest of the U.S. Ryder Cup team were hoping for Patrick Reed to live up to his Captain America reputation.
Instead, Reed turned into the Invisible Man during Team USA’s 17.5-10.5 loss at Le Golf National.
The reigning Masters champ who seems to thrive on slights real and perceived entered the 2018 matches with a 6-1-2 all-time record. He earned 3.5 points in four matches during the U.S. win at Hazeltine and seemed like a lock for significant action in Paris.
He was serenaded with cries identifying him by the Captain America moniker in practice rounds and partnered with Tiger Woods. The stage was set for another strong showing from the most successful U.S. Ryder Cupper in recent years.
The thing about this event is that reputations built over just three days last for two years. Over the next 24 months, Reed will be remembered for a big letdown in which he played just three matches and earned one point, a 3-and-2 Sunday singles win over Tyrrell Hatton after things were pretty much settled.
He split with usual partner Jordan Spieth and, when both were asked about the decision during Sunday’s press conference, they each looked at each other from across a long table before Spieth eventually spoke up and Furyk added to the discussion.
“Jordan and Patrick have been great in the past,” Furyk said. “I felt like, you know, whether that’s a point of contention or not, I felt like we had two great pairings out of it. So it was totally my decision and my call.”
Reed’s wife, Justine, questioned the decision on Twitter and alluded to the fact that Spieth was the one who didn’t want to pair with Reed. But Spieth went 3-1 in a highly-successful team with Justin Thomas and Reed’s struggles were magnified against the duo of Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood.
He received a rude welcome from the European crowd, which was expected. That’s what fuels his fire.
When he drained a birdie putt to halve the ninth hole in Saturday morning four-balls to remain one down, he shushed the crowd and was soundly booed. It seemed like he was trying to create a spark, anything to get going while stirring up animosity.
Reed seems to thrive in his role as a villain and there’s something to be said for that. He doesn’t try to look cool on social media. He did use it to throw shade at the PGA Tour, tagging its official Twitter account with complaints about seats in the “line drive section” at a Red Sox game in August.
He isn’t buddy-buddy with a lot of American teammates and keeps an extremely tight inner-circle.
Fans aren’t used to that in golf’s Bro Era and question any who don’t adhere to the norm. That’s what made Reed such a compelling Ryder Cup star, the anti-millennial and biennial fan favorite.
Captain America was his identity, the thing that transcended all and endeared him to many. But after a bummer of a weekend in Paris in which he failed to make a significant impact, we’re back to the same old question.
Who is Patrick Reed? Gwk
(Note: This story appears in the November issue of Golfweek.)