In a perfect world, Patrick Reed would be talked about today almost exclusively as a tenacious bulldog of a player, who has backed up his early-Tour-days bravado (“I think I’m one of the 5 best players in the world”) with a nails-tough final round 71 to fight off hard charging young superstars Ricky Fowler and Jordan Spieth.
But the world is not perfect, and neither is Reid. Nor are or were any one of the previous 80 winners of this event. So there will be talk of the complicated backstory of his career. Getting kicked off Georgia’s team, the cheating allegations, and the family freeze out.
The usual template of golf writers explaining “who is this new guy” who has just won his first major, is both tried and true, and honestly the only thing worth writing about. Winning a major is like scaling a treacherous mountain, that only very few get to enjoy. It’s a life accomplishment and requires filling in the backstory of how that person got there.
As such, I have no problem with balanced pieces of reporting like this one from Alan Shipnuck of Golf.com that flesh out the how and the why behind the stunning fact that Reed essentially told his parents to stay home, rather than come enjoy his moment in person. It’s fair game, and necessary as part of the story.
But “flesh out” is about as far as anyone can go, because while the basic shape of the dispute is clear – Reed has disowned his family, and is “all-in” with his young bride Justine and her family now – there are always details and specifics that we don’t know about, and we’ll never know.
I’ll only go as far as to say I hope Patrick Reed and his wife’s side of the family can find a way to melt this embargo in the future, because life is too damn short, no matter how bitter the feelings may be. But let’s not label Reed a “bad guy” just because he hasn’t chosen blood over marriage. We don’t know what actually happened, what was actually said, and everything else. Families are complicated. Ever been in one?
Now for my Quick 9 Thoughts on the 2018 Masters
1 Never listen to the weatherman when playing golf. Saturday was supposed to be a complete washout, and they didn’t even stop play once. I too used to be a “fair weather” golfer, easily scared off of a forecast that looked grim. Go play. Weather is weird, and the rain only has to hit your tiny slice of acreage to ruin the round.
2 The Masters has to be held to the fire by the golfing public to release the rest of Thursday and Friday’s action on live TV. I’m okay with not showing live early golf on the weekend. Those guys aren’t likely to win. But on Friday we missed all but about 4 holes of Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, and Rory McIlroy’s rounds. UN-ACCEPT-ABLE. Don’t sell me on the limited on-line coverage. Not good enough. The sport demands it. Grow the game, Augusta, and lose your stodgy sense of tradition on this one.
3 Jordan Spieth has incredible golfing resolve. I once joked about a guy on our golf trip having “no resolve” when things got bad, and as such I didn’t want to partner with him. Spieth has such a deep well of grind, it’s amazing. The BEST moment of the weekend, occurred while CBS’ main feed was showing front-nine highlights of the leader. The Amen Corner channel shut up and let us listen to caddie Michael Greller talk him out of a “soft 4” and into a hybrid. Cleared the creek by about 5 feet! Awesome. Spieth can wear me out at times because he’s so serious, but I’m still a fan. Meanwhile, my gay golf lover Rory, sigh… I still love him, what can I say? When his wheels fall off, they are OFF. Which they clearly were with his putter on Sunday. He’ll win at Augusta, it just might take throwing away another one or two along the way.
4 Tiger Woods is a changed man. And it’s a beautiful thing to see. This now “Tiger 3.0” version is his best yet. He’s so happy to be healthy and blessed to be out competing, it’s like all of the external asshole has melted off of him. I can root for him now! When he finally cleared the water on #12 Saturday, he threw his arms in the air in mock celebration. The crowd (errrr.. PATRONS) ate it up. Good stuff.
Tiger Woods has just completed an even par third round.
— Golfing World (@GolfingWorld) April 7, 2018
5 That said, I watch Sunday and think: “Geezuz… Tiger is SO far away from doing what these young bucks are doing on Sunday.” It’s a touch depressing. And remember: all of these 20-somethings ARE Tiger Pups, of the Tiger Revolution. We all thought it would include more minorities, but it hasn’t yet. Still, these fearless kids are ALL the product of Tiger Woods 1.0 and his televised brilliance.
6 I don’t care how much money Nike paid me, I wouldn’t wear that pink shirt on Sunday. Word is, since Reed just signed with Nike in January, and because Reed has always mimic’d Tiger’s Red-on-Black Sunday power outfit, Nike told him that combo is only for the Big Cat. “And he’s back this year. So take this pink one.” Amazingly, Darren Rovell reported Nike didn’t even have Reed on their website, until this past weekend.
It took me six hours … but I finally figured out the rationale behind @Nike dressing BOTH #PatrickReed and #RoryMcIlroy in hot-pink shirts for the final round of #TheMasters — knowing that one would win the coveted Green Jacket. LOOK!!! 👇👇👇👇 #TonightsSimpsons @czabe pic.twitter.com/Of1amFONWD
— Jay Clemons (@ByJayClemons) April 9, 2018
7 CBS has never had a worse lineup of announcers for golf. Frank Nobilo is a drone, who takes 3 sentences to say something that should take 6 words. And it’s rarely compelling. Must be the accent. I don’t get it. Ian Baker-Finch is nothing more than a syrupy drizzle of sweet words and nice things. Zero sense of the moment. No drama. No actual critical eye. He also said two of the dumbest “golf things” I’ve heard in a while. On Friday he marvelled at Henrik Stenson’s swing and how simple it was, telling viewers: “That’s a good one to copy.” Oh, really? How do I go about doing that? Why don’t I start copying LeBron’s dunks, while I’m at it? He also said on Sunday about a short putt on 17: “Straight in Ricky, or maybe just an inch right to left.” Uh yeah, those are two different things. Peter Kostis belongs permanently in front of the Konica-Minolta Biz-Hub Swing Vision screen at the FedEx St. Jude. Not on a major. Thank god for Nantz, Faldo, and Uncle Verne. They saved it. And while I do like Dottie Pepper, she’s misplaced at the crucial 13th. You need a former PGA Tour player on that hole, who has played several Masters, to really give the viewers the best analysis of a tricky hole from start-to-finish.
8 That said, I liked how CBS backed away from over-using the sleepy David Loggins Augusta “theme” and instead used the more driving Masters “march” bump music. Shot tracer was a GAME CHANGER on 13 and 18, and should be used on almost every non-par-3 tee shot. There was some really tasty looking production pieces coming in an out of break with super-slo-mo and drone shots of the course.
9 I know this might be blasphemy, but how about some new pins on Sunday? Anybody? Is it just me? Watching old Masters footage you remember they used to do that. I would be in favor of a total Sunday shake up one year, and see how it goes.