I’ve often stuck up for Patrick Reed. I like his game and his golf swing. He plays with a lot of passion and gusto. He’s a perfect guy to have on your side in team events. He wins on extremely tough and famous courses; Doral, Augusta, and now Torrey Pines to name a few. In many regards golf is a very selfish sport. And its clear PR only cares about himself. He doesn’t care what you or I think, and the more he hears us talk about him in a negative light…the better he plays.
The rules discrepancy last week at Torrey and the negative backlash was all because of whom it was, not necessarily the infraction itself. Reed had even stated that Rory McIlroy did the exact same thing just a few holes before. Had it been someone else it may have been a non issue, especially since the rules official was there onsite and approved the entire process. This may be harsh but I look at Patrick Reed as the ex-con who is out on probation and trying to make good of himself and his life. That person better not so much as jaywalk. Behave and do your thing. Fly under the radar and don’t do anything that would shed a negative light on your person. Reed shouldn’t jaywalk, or ground his club in a hazard, or pick his ball up until a rules official is present. Ever.
I’m sure we all know what transpired, but allow a quick recap. The field was playing under lift-clean-place rules as the weather on Wednesday and Thursday was more Seattle and very little San Diego. This rule allows players to place a tee where the ball came to rest, pick it up and clean it, and place it back in its original spot in the fairway only. The embedded rule was also in affect for plugged balls in the rough. Of the many downsides to not playing in front of the normal large galleries of fans these days is that there are way fewer eyes on your ball, if any. It is up to the eyes of your playing partners, caddie, and a lonely volunteer here and there to spot balls. As Reed walked to his ball in the left rough of #10 on Saturday, he asked the volunteer if it bounced. She stated that it did not. Reed said he didn’t think so from his vantage point either. The reason he asked is that had it bounced first there is no way the ball could plug in the mud. Reed than crouched over the ball with only about half being visible. He then stuck a tee in, picked the ball up, and called the rules official. As he waited for the official he tossed the ball to the side and began sticking his fingers in the ground checking for a hole or impression made by the ball. The official first sounded shocked that Reed had tossed the ball aside, but quickly assessed the situation and felt around himself. He deemed the ball as embedded and gave Reed a drop without penalty.
When playing lift-clean-and place in the fairway you do not need to call an official over every time. But someone in your group whether it be a playing partner or an official needs to agree that your ball is indeed plugged to take the necessary relief. The shock was that Reed picked his ball up and tossed it aside before the official arrived on the scene. Now there was absolutely no way for anyone to see if the ball was embedded. So we were left to them feeling around for an embedded mark next to Reed’s tee. The side calling for Reed’s immoral head say that he had this all planned as he approached the volunteer and asked if his ball bounced. You can hear him at least twice say “She said it didn’t bounce.” There’s his out for doing what he did and to claim his innocence. The other side who claim there was no foul play here anyways, states that the rules official was onsite and showed no disgust with the fact that Reed marked his ball and picked it up before he got there. He ruled as if the ball was there, plugged in the mud, on his arrival.
That’s the side I’m on. Reed followed protocol for the most part and asked if it bounced; more than once. Had the official felt there was ill intent, he should have ruled that Patrick replace the ball and play on with a one-shot penalty incurred. And that’s just the thing…one shot or not, this did not affect the outcome of the event. Reed went on to hole monster putt after monster putt and win by 5. How does he do it? How does he play so well when it feels as though every single player in the field and every member in the media tent is out to get you? That right there is someone that is sadly used to being in a very dark place in his life. Someone that is used to the dark clouds following him, whether it’s his own doing or not. But the clouds seem to lift and the days are a lot brighter when you’ve won 9 PGA Tour events, including a green jacket.
Equipment Free Agents There seems to be more players at the highest level without club contracts these days. Or maybe it’s just that there are more high profile players with the freedom to fill their bag with whatever they choose, most notably the aforementioned Patrick Reed and now Jason Day. JD represents 6 different brands in his bag and Reed shows love to 5 respectively. Let’s take a look inside their bags and see their setup.
Patrick Reed – WITB
Driver: Titleist TSi3 (Aldila Rogue Silver 70TX shaft), 9 degrees
3-wood: TaylorMade SIM (Aldila Rogue Black 70TX shaft), 15 degrees
Hybrid: Callaway Apex (UST Mamiya Recoil shaft), 20 degrees
Irons: Grindworks Patrick Reed prototype (4-PW; True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts)
Wedges: Artisan Prototype (51 degrees), Titleist Vokey SM8 (56 degrees) & Titleist Vokey SM6 (62 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shafts
Putter: Scotty Cameron Tour Rat I
Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1
Jason Day – WITB
Driver: Ping G425 LST (9 degrees @8.5)
Shaft: TPT 14 LO 5
3-wood: TaylorMade SIM Max (15)
Shafts: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XTS 80 TX
Irons: Mizuno MP20 HMB (3, 4) Mizuno JPX 921 Tour (5-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold X7
Wedges: Artisan Prototype (50, 54, 60)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400
Putter: Odyssey 2-Ball
Ball: Bridgestone Tour B XS
Fantasy Picks John Rahm snagged another top-10 at Torrey and Max Homa tied for 18th. Jason Day continues to struggle with his hodge podge bag of clubs and missed the cut. This week in Scottsdale will be a little less rowdy with only 5,000 fans being allowed in. There’s normally 4 times that on the 16th hole alone, but this is a step in the right direction and 5,000 is better than 5. Winner Rory McIlroy His first appearance here but one of the longest and straightest drivers in the game. It’s a birdie-fest from the fairway. Will contend Webb Simpson Defending champ and he’s in good form again. Sleeper Brendan Steele Tough competitor who finished 4th at Sony and just outside the top-20 last week.
Enjoy the game and each other,
Seth Zipay – Head Golf Professional