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Mulvena: Patrick Reed winning 2018 Masters is not good for golf

| Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Patrick Reed’s Masters victory Sunday was bad for the sport of the golf.

Perhaps I should rephrase that. This narrative that “Patrick Reed is an emblem of American golf and, although you may not like him, his Masters win is good for the game so deal with it,” is misguided.

This is not to say that Reed is this universally beloved figure of the sport by fans. Not by a longshot. Reed — behind Bubba Watson, who I defended previously in this column — is likely the second most hated player in golf. Some fans have become attached to him after his boisterous green celebrations in his Ryder Cup match with Rory McIlroy, but that’s a different issue for a different day.

Since Reed won The Masters on Sunday, the media has attempted to spin the victory as somehow a triumphant outcome for the good of the sport. Golf Digest recently published an article entitled, “Masters 2018: Patrick Reed’s real problem might be that people just don’t know him.”

When I saw that article Monday morning, my day was immediately ruined. The article claims Reed isn’t understood on Tour because members don’t approach him often. It says that, in reality, Reed is an “honest,” “no BS” type of guy, and if you just knew him, you’d change your mind about him.

The angle of that article, and other similar narratives like it, is laugh-out-loud ridiculous. If golf fans got to know Reed behind the scenes, it is likely they would be horrified.

Let’s start with Reed’s collegiate career. Reed spent one year at Georgia, a golf powerhouse boasting alumni like Bubba Watson, Brian Harman and Kevin Kisner. But Reed was dismissed after his freshman year due to “alcohol-related offenses.” Fine, we all make mistakes, understandable. Reed would go on to spend his next two years at Augusta State, leading the team to two national championships before turning pro. But later on in his career, more of Reed “behind the scenes” began to emerge from former coaches and teammates. Former coaches have ridiculed Reed’s character traits, and one UGA coach is cited saying, “There is no doubting the ability of Patrick as a golfer, it was Patrick as a person that we chose not to associate with.” Plus, several teammates have accused him of stealing bundles of cash, putters and watches in the lockeroom.

Even more suspicious, Reed hasn’t spoken with his family in years. When they bought tickets to follow him at the 2014 U.S Open, Reed’s fiance had them removed by security from the premises. In 2016, Reed’s younger sister posted a long, heartfelt facebook post, ensuring the public that her family was not maniacal or evil like Reed and his in-laws have claimed and that she has not spoken to her brother in years without explanation.

By all angles, Reed simply appears to be a mean person. Sure, 100 percent of all of these allegations may not be true, but surely it’s not a coincidence that all of these morally questionable accusations exist.

Why are we trying to convince ourselves that his win is somehow good for the game of golf? Are we trying to cling to some American symbol of golf? Perhaps, then, we should look to the 2nd-place finisher in this year’s Masters, Rickie Fowler — a young American with a unique style and acceptable moral background. Or even Jordan Spieth, a young American with a number of charity ventures and a far better golf game than Reed.                                 

All in all, Reed is a jerk, and it’s okay to hate the Masters winner. We don’t have to like every golfer, or every winner or every major champion.

Reed is a great golfer. But is he great for golf? Not by a long shot.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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