American Patrick Reed lands one of U.S. captain Tiger Woods’ 4 at-large selections for next month’s matches against Internationals
BELEK, Turkey – One might think that Patrick Reed would be on a mission to show Tiger Woods that he merited one of the U.S. captain’s four Presidents Cup picks.
Having spent the past three weeks overseas – at the Zozo Championship in Japan, the WGC HSBC Champions in China and now this week at the Turkish Airlines Open – Reed has put some serious frequent-flier miles together. The effort paid off Thursday night when Reed was picked by Woods for the U.S. team that will play the Internationals on Dec. 12-15 at Royal Melbourne in Australia.
With a T-17 in Japan and a T-8 in China, Reed didn’t seem to be sweating the pick after his first round of 1-under 71 here Thursday. But a familiar pattern has emerged during the past three tournaments, a trend that Reed has struggled to reverse and intends to address before his trip to Dubai in two weeks for the European Tour finale.
In his past nine rounds, Reed has recorded six scores in the 60s and three in the 70s. All three of his 70s have been in the first round.
“I need to get off to faster starts,” said Reed, who birdied the first three holes Thursday at Montgomerie Maxx Royal but played 2 over for the rest of the way. My worst round is normally my first round,” Reed said, “and then I’m battling back in the golf tournament.”
With moderate temperatures in the high 70s/low 80s and little wind forecast through the weekend, Reed will be struggling to catch first-round leaders Tom Lewis of England and Matthias Schwab of Austria, who opened with 7-under 65s (scores).
Too many poor things are happening on the golf course for Reed. In the first round here, he was surprised with the distance that he hit a new hybrid.
“I put a new hybrid into play this week, and it cost me two shots,” Reed said. “The worst part about it wasn’t like I missed it left or right. It’s just that it decided to send on me on one of them, right into a bush, 270 yards.”
When the eight qualifiers for the Presidents Cup standings were finalized after the FedEx Cup finals in Atlanta in September, Reed ranked 12th, behind Tony Finau, Gary Woodland and Rickie Fowler.
Woods, who ranks No. 7 in the world, was regarded as a shoo-in to pick himself. That left the speculation to focus on the remaining three picks to come from among Finau, Fowler, Reed and Woodland.
Reed had been in touch with Woods but said he didn’t get confirmation until shortly before the announcement.
“Last week, I texted him and congratulated him on winning,” Reed said. “Then before that, I talked to him at Zozo, kind of when I’d see him at the hotel and hanging around.”
Reed was as excited to be picked as he was to hear that Woods will be a playing captain.
“Look, he just came back and he won,” Reed said. “Looked really sharp in Japan, and I’d think he would be healthy and strong enough when it comes around. He’s not playing until Hero [World Challenge, an unofficial tournament on Dec. 4-7], his own event, which is an easy walk. I think he’s in good form, but I’m not the captain. I’m not making the picks.”