Friday 20 September 2019

Reed insists snapping club no big deal

Patrick Reed plays a shot from the 12th tee. Photo: Getty
Patrick Reed plays a shot from the 12th tee. Photo: Getty

Ewan Murray

Anybody seeking a heartfelt show of contrition from Patrick Reed after the US Open temper tantrum that resulted in him becoming a social media phenomenon will be sorely disappointed. An unrepentant Reed, reflecting on Friday's episode when he snapped his lob wedge over his knee after a fluffed chip, is struggling to see what all the fuss is about.

"At the end of the day, I got my anger out; I didn't do anything to the golf course, I didn't say obscenities or anything like that," said the 2018 Masters champion. "It was a split second, I moved on and did my business, hit my next golf shot."

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Within minutes of Reed dismantling the club, adjacent to the 18th green at Pebble Beach, footage had gone viral. There is an assumption Reed will be fined for his fit of pique, although the tournament organisers never publicise the detail of such penalties. Not unreasonably, Reed used the aftermath of yesterday's third round to point to indiscretions by his fellow professionals. Sergio Garcia seriously damaged putting surfaces in Saudi Arabia in February, in an episode which did impact on other players in the field.

"You have Sergio with what he did on the greens, I have seen multiple guys tear up golf courses and slam clubs," Reed added. "Rory [McIlroy] threw his club in the water on the ninth hole at Doral [in 2015]. Lucas Bjerregaard sent his driver into the water here. It happens. Things like that probably shouldn't happen but as long as you respect the golf course and aren't doing anything to damage it or the guys you are playing with . . . I'd rather let it out than keep it in.

"To me it is no big deal. It was comical watching it afterwards. It wasn't comical hitting poor wedge shot after poor wedge shot, especially when I pride myself on my wedge game. To miss the green from 20 yards then advance the ball three inches from six foot off the green is not normally how my short game is. That's what a US Open and rough like this will do to you."

For all Reed is in a position where he should be an example to youngsters, he isn't at all prone to damaging equipment. He did draw criticism in China, five years ago, after branding himself a "f****** f*****" at the time of a missed putt; for which he was immediately remorseful.

Handily, Reed carries three versions of the wedge in question to each tournament. He labels the clubs, which have 61 degrees of loft, "61 and done". Reed explained: "Usually it gets me out of jail, it kept me in jail on that one.

The double bogey racked up by Reed at the hole in question meant he survived the half-way cut by only one shot.

Reed smiled when asked when he last snapped a club. "It happened three times last year; I got off commercial flights and there was a broken club in my bag," said the 28-year-old. "I have no clue when I last did it."

That he "did it" here will linger as an abiding memories of the tournament.

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