Patrick Reed’s message to golf fans?
I’m a nice guy once you get to know me.
Or words to that effect, at least.
This week, the former Masters champion defends the Farmers Insurance Open title he won in somewhat contentious circumstances a year ago.
Reed, 31, was accused (not for the first time) of cheating en route to victory at Torrey Pines. Holding a four-shot lead midway through his third round, the American called in a rules official to request relief from an embedded lie in rough around the tenth green.
Controversy stemmed from the fact that Reed had already picked up his ball before calling in the official and that he had been told by volunteer marshalls that the ball hadn’t bounced.
He was ultimately granted a free drop from which he saved par… despite TV replays showing that the ball had, in fact, bounced.
After his round, Reed defended his actions, insisting that rules officials had absolved him of any wrongdoing.
He went on to win the tournament by five strokes but the incident left a sour taste in the mouths of many, not least many of his fellow players. Xander Schauffele said that “the talk amongst the boys isn’t great”, whilst Lanto Griffin called the incident “sad” and said that it “kind of pisses us off”.
Twelve months on, Reed maintains that he handled the situation properly, adding that his public persona is far removed from how he really is.
Reflecting on last year, he said: “It should be remembered as a victory. At the end of the day, the rules officials said we did nothing wrong.
“The only thing I can do is keep on moving forward, keep trying to get the best I can on the golf course and handle myself how I feel like I’m supposed to off the golf course, whether it’s with my peers, whether it’s at home, whether it’s out on the road or anything like that.
“As long as I feel like I’m doing the right things, all of it will take care of itself.”
He added: “I definitely feel like everyone who has actually got to know me compared to what they read is completely different. Really, at the end of the day I can’t control really what’s been written, I can only control what I do and how my interactions are with people, with fans, with people who get to know me and things like that.”