On Sunday afternoon, Patrick Reed finished his final round of the Masters with a 71, enough to beat Rickie Fowler by one shot and earn his first major championship. The 27-year-old has already distinguished himself from his peers with marquee wins including a WGC title and a Playoffs win. Reed has also assembled impressive performances at both the Ryder and President’s cups, which has earned him the nickname “Captain America.” However, the true story behind the man with the green jacket is darker than it first appears.
As Reed won his first green jacket last weekend, his parents and younger sister were hosting a watch party in Augusta, Georgia. Instead of being able to celebrate the incredible accomplishment with their son, the parents were forced to shed their tears inside their home – just 3 miles away from Augusta National, where the 2018 Masters was played. In 2012, Reed and his family were estranged from each other. That same year, Reed and his wife, Justine, were married and did not send invitations to his father, mother or siblings.
Two years later at Pinehurst, Reed’s parents and sister were escorted off the golf course by authorities, and their passes were confiscated. For six years, the Reed family hasn’t talked to Patrick despite efforts to do so. When asked about whether his family’s absence made the win bittersweet, Reed said, “I’m just out here to play golf and try to win tournaments.”
The rift between Reed and his family is not the only troubling piece of the recent Masters champion’s life. During his freshman year at the University of Georgia, Reed was involved in a number of on-course and off-course incidents. At a qualifying round before a tournament, Reed drove a ball into deep rough, but he soon spotted another ball in much better position. According to sources, Reed allegedly attempted to hit his competitor’s ball.
Since then, Reed has said that he never cheated, but other sources say otherwise. In an interview with blogger Stephanie Wei, Jason Payne, who coached golf at UGA during Reed’s time there, said, “The story that has been reported … is an accurate account of his college career at UGA – including the suspicions held by his former teammates.” Along with the accusations of cheating were allegations of theft – items and up to $400 cash – from the UGA locker room. Once again, Reed was blamed.
Also during his time in Athens, Reed was arrested twice for intoxication. The arrests, together with various other accusations, gave the university enough grounds for expulsion. After leaving Georgia, Reed enrolled at Augusta State – where he was suspended within weeks for team rules violations. Later, Reed would help lead the team to a pair of Division I national titles. Despite the championships, Reed was continually disliked by his teammates – something that has carried its way onto the PGA Tour.
By spring 2014, Reed had already won three career tournaments. After his first WGC title, Reed said in an interview with Golf Channel, “I don’t see a lot of guys that have done that besides Tiger Woods and the legends of the game. … I’m one of the top five players in the world.”
At the time of his infamous boast, Reed had never played in a major tournament. Despite only having three wins to his name, Reed had quickly become one of the most pretentious players on Tour – and that was only the beginning.
In November 2014, Reed was heard muttering a gay slur during the WGC-HSBC Champions, which he later apologized for. In March 2018, at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Reed didn’t receive relief after hitting a wayward shot. His response to the official was, “I guess my name needs to be Jordan Spieth, guys.” Considering Reed’s collegiate past, these statements should not come as a surprise.
After witnessing a green jacket ceremony with an almost silent crowd, it’s very clear that Reed just might be golf’s “most hated man.” With a questionable history both on and off the course, the 27-year-old has not gained a large fan base – and without any major changes to his personality, that probably won’t change. Move over, Tiger Woods – golf has a new villain.