Interview with Patrick Reed
The newly-crowned Masters champion talks exclusively to HK Golfer.
Louie Chan: I think confidence is a word a lot of people would refer to when asked to describe Patrick Reed. How did that winning feeling - the early wins - how did that make you feel? Talk to us about how belief became such a big part of your game.
Patrick Reed: It made me feel that I belonged out there. Whether it was, as a kid, belonging with the older kids or whether it was on the PGA TOUR. Once you get on the tour, you're excited that you made it. But then, once you get that first win, then all of a sudden you believe you deserve to be out there. Once you get past that first win, you get the second one, then you start having that belief that you can compete in Majors and really compete for that top spot.
If you don't have a belief in yourself no one's going to believe in you. Getting that win gets you into that category that, not only do you believe but, all of a sudden, everyone else starts realising, "Oh, he's won so he has proven himself. Now, let's give him a shot. Let's see what he really can do." LC: There's a moment you have no doubt talked many times, when you took down one of your contemporaries in the 2016 Ryder cup which has to be up there with the two or three greatest matches we've ever witnessed. I guess before you teed off in that round, you're approaching the golf course, you know you're playing Rory. At what point do you start realising you're feeling good? How do you control the emotion? How did you actually allow yourself to perform to that high level on that day?
PR: Right when I finished on Saturday, I walked straight over to the captain and I said, "Hey, captain I want Rory." I knew there's no way we could guarantee that just by saying, "Hey, guys Patrick wants to play Rory, we're going there." Because you had to put down your names and hope that the other team put their names in such a way that matches up with your thinking. In the past, Rory has gone out around the middle of the singles matches because that's normally where the
deciding match is, in the middle.
That's usually the winning point but because we were leading, we had a feeling that Rory was going to go out first. I'm over there jumping out my shoes like, "Put me out first, put me out first. I want Rory." Because I want to play their best guy and that week he's playing his best and I want to go up against him. Whenever it came out that I was to play Rory, I was just so jacked and excited and ready to go. Actually, my warm up wasn't as good as I needed it to be. I was struggling because I was so hyped that my timing was actually too fast.
I was swinging out of my shoes, getting out of my normal rhythm and because of that, my coach was like, "Hey, come on, let's calm down. Let's get back to your normal swings. Get back to your normal tempo." But it just wasn't happening. Then Tiger walks over he just gives me this blank stare, he said, "Come here." I'm just sitting there going, "Oh, what's going to be said?" He just wraps his arm around me and tells me a story. It was really funny. It was a good joke which kind of loosened me up and then from that point, I started hitting some shots and got back into my normal timing and normal rhythm.
Once you start hitting a couple of shots and you get back into that flow that you were in earlier that week, you just get that confidence You start thinking, "All right, here we go, this is going to be great. I'm going to be ready to go."
LC: I think that the sportsmanship really shone through with you and Rory because you’d given as good as each other and you edged him out. That must have been something that you took a good deal of pride in, outside of winning? Just knowing that you created a great moment in sport. Is that something that fair to say?
PR: It is. The one thing that you don't see in golf anymore because it's such an individual sport is the camaraderie and just the friendly banter back and forth from players. You get it in basketball, you get it in every other sport you play because you're interacting a lot with the guys. In golf you don't really have that.
It's just you and your caddie. Playing with Rory, I'll never forget when he made his birdie on number three to go one up in the match.
He just gave it just a nonchalant little hand wag, that's about it, and didn't show really any emotion. So, as we were walking to the fourth tee, I said, "I just want to let you know, when I win my first hole, you're going to know about it." And he just starts laughing. Then we tie four, go to five, I hit a great tee shot at the driveable par four. I hit it up there to eight feet for eagle and make the putt and then I let him have it.
I go nuts and he just starts laughing. At the par 5 seventh he hits one to 10, 15 feet, probably wasn't up to his standards but, it was good enough to make birdie. He makes a good putt and that's then when he starts going. Then I make mine, I give him the bow because he bowed the crowd earlier. A lot of people are like, "Well, are they like angry at each other or what's going on?" We get to the next tee box and he's like, "Oh, my bow was better." It's like, "No, mine was. It was an American bow, we're on American soil." All match we're laughing, having a good time and I think that’s the best part of competing, the sportsmanship and that everyone was able to see that. They can see this is a lot of fun for these guys and they're just showing how the game of golf can be. It's on eight, he makes the 9,000-foot putt that I told my caddie, "He's going to make this." And he's looking me like, "No, he's not." I was like, "No, he's going to make this." He's like, "I guarantee you he's not going to make it." He's like, "I know you're going to say you need to have the mentality that he's going to make it and he's going to make everything." I was like, "No, he's going to make it." All of a sudden, it's five feet from the hole and he goes, "Oh, he's going to make it." I was like, "Yes." When he made it, he's like, "I can't hear you. I can't hear you yelling." Then I holed my putt and gave him the finger wag, but I think the best moment was right after that. We're walking off the green, fist bumps to each other, arms wrapped around each other's shoulders, just out there having a good time and talking.
That's stuff that in golf you don't see because it's such an individual sport but for us out there, we're like a big family. Whether you're on the US side, European side, it doesn't matter. We're all out there trying to do the same thing. We all want everyone to play well and I think that's what's going to stand out the most in that match.
LC: You are a character and an individual. You do stand out, you have been through some interesting events, do you wear that like a badge of honour?
PR: Yes and no. I've always believed if you're 110% truthful and you stick to your beliefs, then that's all you can do. Some people are going to love you, some people aren't. At the end of the day, if you're true to yourself, that's all that matters. I felt like myself and my whole team has done that, and that's all that's all we can do.
LC: One other question, what has golf taught you?
PR: To be patient. Golf is an interesting sport. It's a long sport especially every week, 72 holes. Each round is at least four hours long. You're going to have good days and bad days. You just have to stay patient and know there are going to be highs in your career. You're going to have to be able to ride them out and continue. You're going to have lows in your career. You're going to have to know how to ride the ship and not get too down on yourself.
I feel like the most important thing in golf is staying patient and, also, I think it's staying true to yourself. When you shoot a jump shot or you throw a fastball, it's all pretty much the same motion. When you're playing golf, you step up on the first hole and there are 20,000 different ways to play that hole. You're going to have guys who are going to hit driver. You're going have guys who are going to hit iron off the tee.
You are going to have guys who hit draw or hit a fade, so the best way is just to stay true to yourself and be who you are. I feel like golf really brings it out in you because once you try to be like someone else or change your game plan, a lot of times you walk off with bogey, double, or even triple. Just because you changed your game plan to somebody else's when that's not who you are.
LC: Winning the Masters put you in the record books beside the greatest players ever to have played the game. What does it mean to you?
PR: The Masters is the pinnacle of the game of golf, to always be known as a Masters Champion is one of the greatest honors in the game of golf. it is every kid’s dream to win the Masters and it was certainly a dream come true for me.
I wouldn’t say that there was any moment when I thought this was my year or time, but I prepared better, and my mental approach was better. When I made the 20 to 25-footer for birdie on 12 on Sunday, I had this rush like I’m going to win. Nothing-no one is going to stop me.
I stuck to my game plan. I watched the leaderboard, so I knew where I stood, and I knew what I needed to do to win. I stayed in the moment and didn’t get ahead of myself.
It feels great to be amongst some of the worlds’ best athletes in their sport. It also means just as much to me to be a part of the Hublot team who has made me feel like family.
Patrick Reed celebrates on the 18th green after winning his match as Rory McIlroy of looks on during singles matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup
Patrick Reed gestures to the crowd while holding the Ryder Cup during the closing ceremony of the 2016 Ryder Cup
Patrick Reed celebrates with his wife Justine on the 18th green during the final round of the 2018 Masters Tournament
Patrick Reed and his Hublot Big Bang Unico Golf, a timepiece specially created for golfers