News & Opinion

‘Captain America’ doesn’t look so super anymore

In an ongoing blunder Down Under, Patrick Reed loses 3rd consecutive match with Webb Simpson and sits for afternoon session of Presidents Cup

Perhaps it’s time to review Patrick Reed’s superhero credentials. A 5-and-3 drubbing from C.T. Pan/Hideki Matsuyama in the Saturday four-balls dropped Captain America to 1-6 in his past seven Ryder/Presidents Cup matches. He’s now 0-3 in Australia, which is why U.S. skipper Tiger Woods finally sat Reed for the afternoon foursomes session, euthanizing a partnership with Webb Simpson that fared no better than the Woods/Reed pairing in France last fall.

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Patrick Reed fails to muster the sort of magic in the Presidents Cup that made him a Ryder Cup big-game hunter 3 years ago.

Since a blazing start to his team-match career, when Reed lost just three of his first 17 bouts vs. the Europeans and Internationals, he has become yet another reason why the Yanks are ending up on the south end of an opponent heading north. Reed failed to make a birdie against Pan and Matsuyama (scores). This after proving largely incompatible with Simpson against the same foe in their opening-day four-balls, when the tandem went lengthy stretches without putting two balls in scoring position and did well just to hang on until the 18th green.

Things didn’t get any better in Friday’s foursomes. After making the turn 1 down, Reed/Simpson lost three of the next five holes and were closed out by Abraham Ancer/Marc Leishman on the 16th. That felt like a nail-biter compared to Saturday’s shellacking. Granted, Pan played out of his mind in the rematch, locking up five holes on his own and barely needing Matsuyama’s assistance, but Reed used to have an answer for hot golfers. A loud and very definitive answer.

So we’re left not only to ponder the demise of the cocksure Texan but to come up with a more appropriate nickname. Scooby Don’t? The Sandman? OK, that’s really awful stuff, but if Reed didn’t actually hang the Captain America moniker on himself after his memorable triumph over Rory McIlroy in the 2016 Ryder Cup singles, he hasn’t exactly disapproved of the title. “This week, I’m definitely Captain America,” he told Morning Read contributor Jeff Babineau shortly before almost coming up pointless in Paris.

Reed’s only victory over the last two years of team competition was a 3-and-2 win over Tyrrell Hatton that Sunday, long after the Euros had taken Uncle Sam to the woodshed and left no doubt as to the better team at Le Golf National. U.S. captain Jim Furyk was forced to front-load his singles lineup in an attempt to wipe out the 10-6 deficit. Two years earlier, Reed would have been the centerpiece of that power push.

In Paris, he went out 10th. His point against Hatton was as meaningless as points get, which didn’t prevent Reed from telling Golf Channel that “Captain America” remained a worthy title because he was “still 3-0 in singles.”

There are a lot of adjectives one could use to characterize that mentality. With those three words and two numbers, Reed succinctly captured the essence as to why he is one of the most unpopular players on the PGA Tour. The anti-Pat rub only gets stronger outside the U.S., where Reed has become a 21st-century facsimile of tennis superstar John McEnroe. These days, the ugly American wears long pants.

The difference is that Johnny Mac found enough control of his inner demons to become one of the greatest players that game has ever produced. He replaced the boorish racket with the brilliance of his racquet, and eventually, he became a beloved champion worldwide. Reed? Let’s just say he’s still hanging out on the wrong side of town. From the over-the-top declaration that he was one of the top five golfers in the world after his third career victory (March 2014) to the second-guessing and finger-pointing that he aimed at Furyk and Woods after the rout in Paris, Reed has managed to turn selfishness and abrasive behavior into a cottage industry.

Now the cottage is leaking, and the man once known as Captain America is definitely not a roofer.