Sport US Masters

Tuesday 25 June 2019

Sam Dean: Red mist and Green Jackets - the Reed family feud

Masters champion may be a local but he is not a popular Augusta winner due to chequered past

Patrick Reed and his wife Justine embrace on the 18th green at
Augusta National. Photo: Getty Images
Patrick Reed and his wife Justine embrace on the 18th green at Augusta National. Photo: Getty Images

Sam Dean

Without traffic, the drive from Augusta National to the Reed family home takes less than 15 minutes. It is a straightforward journey, with few turns, and it is a trip that Bill Reed once made with his son, Patrick, when the family moved to the city's suburbs less than a decade ago.

"I can remember Patrick and I walking into the gates and going, 'oh my gosh'," Bill said in 2013. "And I can remember Patrick turning to me and going, 'I'm going to play here some day'."

When Patrick next strolls through those gates, he will do so with a Green Jacket hanging off his shoulders. This time, though, he will not be with Bill, the father with whom he no longer speaks.

The Masters champion completed his greatest triumph just six miles from his old house, yet his family were not invited to see it. Instead, the Reeds were down the road, barely out of earshot, watching through a television screen as their son fulfilled his dream.

The Reed family home is pristine on the outside, with a lengthy, two-pronged front drive. A mewing cat greets visitors on the front steps, before a pair of small dogs yap at the sound of the doorbell. There was reportedly a party here on Sunday evening, but all was quiet within just a few hours of Reed's moment of glory.

Bill Reed was watching television coverage of the tournament, and yours truly was politely told that it was not a good time to talk. It seems that a time for talking is precisely what the Reed family, especially mother Jeannette, are longing for with their son.

"Miss you, Brat," she said in an affectionate tweet on his birthday last year.

Another post, from 2016, contains an image with the words: "One of the hardest things you will ever have to do is to grieve the loss of a person who is still alive."

It is a harrowing state of affairs which adds yet more layers of complexity to the curious case of Reed, the local boy who many in Augusta had hoped would lose.

Before Sunday's final round, the US-based Golf Channel had described Reed as "the man many love to hate". After it, the 'Los Angeles Times' said he had endured a "victory march to the drumbeat of disdain".

Trying to pinpoint an exact reason for Reed's unpopularity can be a vexing task, so the family home, in the nearby town of Martinez, feels like a natural place to start.

It is likely that Reed has not been there for six years, ever since he ended his relationship with his parents, and his sister Hannah, in 2012. Like so many aspects of Reed's convoluted past, including the allegations of cheating at college golf (which he denies), the dispute is shrouded in rumour.

It does, however, seem safe to say that the trigger for the rift centres on Reed's wedding, to his caddie Justine Karain, in 2012. The Reeds were not invited after warning their son that, at the age of 22, he was too young to be tying the knot. They were not there, either, when Reed made his first appearance in the Masters a few months later, and in 2014 they were escorted off the course at the US Open after trying to watch their son.

Reed's mother reportedly believes that the officials who removed them were acting on Justine's wishes.

Now the story becomes messy. In a Facebook post following the publication of a book that details some of Reed's early behaviour - such as allegedly introducing himself to people by saying "I will kick the s*** out of you at golf any time you want" - Justine wrote that Reed was "verbally and physically abused" as a child, and was seen as a "meal ticket" by his parents.

"The last thing I would ever want for my daughter is to grow up in an environment like my husband did," she said. "They are sick people and need help. Time will tell all."

Hannah, Reed's younger sister, responded with a post of her own.

"Patrick is not the same person he used to be," she said.

"He accused me of faking two kidney surgeries to get him back into my life, completely disowned me . . . this is not a brother any more, but a selfish, horrible stranger and it is heartbreaking.

"He had an AMAZING life. My parents gave up EVERYTHING for his dream of becoming a golfer . . . there was NEVER EVER any abuse mentally or physically . . . the fact that Patrick is allowing his new family to say that is insane."

Reed is clearly close with that "new family". His mother-in-law, Janet, is part of his team and his brother-in-law, Kessler, left his job in the medical industry to take over as caddie once Justine had stepped away to start a family.

Throughout all of this, Reed's mother has continued to publicly send and endorse supportive messages about her son, without ever receiving a reply.

She may have hoped for a response when Reed was asked in Sunday's press conference if it was "bittersweet" that he could not share his finest moment with his parents and sister, but his answer was as ruthless as his putting.

"I'm just out here to play golf and try to win golf tournaments," he said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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