Column: Reed's passion for Ryder Cup turns poisonous
SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France (AP) — What the Americans need is a Ryder Cup team filled with guys like Patrick Reed.
As long as Patrick Reed isn't one of them.
Three days on Le Golf National went bad enough for a powerful U.S. team that lost its way off the tee and on the scoreboard. Europe won eight consecutive matches, built a four-point lead going into Sunday's singles session and never gave the Americans much hope on its way to another victory on home soil.
And then Reed managed to make them look even worse.
In a telephone interview with The New York Times later Sunday, Reed blamed Jordan Spieth for them not playing together and U.S. captain Jim Furyk for twice leaving Reed on the bench.
"The issue's obviously with Jordan not wanting to play with me," Reed told the Times. "I don't have any issue with Jordan. When it comes right down to it, I don't care if I like the person I'm paired with or if the person likes me as long as it works and it sets up the team for success. He and I know how to make each other better. We know how to get the job done."
Reed doesn't care about relationships forged during the week.
He cares only about winning.
That's the European way. That's what America needs.
Sam Torrance, who won the clinching match in 1985 when Europe won for the first time since 1957, said in one of the inspirational videos for Team Europe leading up to the matches: "It's not about taking part. It's about winning. Nothing else."
They win as one. They don't lose very often.
European captain Thomas Bjorn said poignantly after Europe built a 10-6 advantage going into singles: "This is 12 players, and we do this together. We've been playing with eight in every session, but it's about 12, and we felt like we've been a whole team on the golf course every session."
But the passion of Reed came off as poison with his remarks to the Times.
He made it clear that he is one of 12 only if he gets his way.
Reed didn't get to play with Spieth, the only partner he has had in two previous appearances. He said he was blindsided when Spieth was paired with Justin Thomas, a longtime friend making his Ryder Cup debut before a European crowd.
Read between the lines of his rant and Reed complained about getting stuck with Tiger Woods, his idol.
"Any time you get to tee it up with Big Cat, it's always fun," Reed said when the pairings came out.
Except when you lose.
They were 3 up through 10 holes when Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood made five birdies over the last seven holes to win on the 17th hole. The next morning against the same European juggernaut, Reed was in the water, constantly in the rough, out-of-bounds and usually in his pocket. The match lasted 14 holes. Woods went back out with Bryson DeChambeau. Reed sat again. His performance Saturday morning would not have provided much help in alternate shot Saturday afternoon.
"For somebody as successful in the Ryder Cup as I am, I don't think it's smart to sit me twice," Reed said.
Looking back, maybe he's right. Furyk should have sat him three times.
That "Captain America" nickname is going to be hard for Reed to earn back, if he ever does.
The loss was not Furyk's fault. All a captain can do is get players in position to perform. The performance is up to them. Three of his wild-card picks — Woods, DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson — combined to go 0-9.
No one was complaining about his picks on the way to Paris.
They should call this the Hindsight Cup.
No one mentioned problems with the U.S. system after the Americans won two years ago in a home game at Hazeltine. If anything, Europe was having a transition year in the Ryder Cup with six rookies, none of whom qualified or were picked for this team.
Yes, the Americans have a problem in the Ryder Cup: They have to play Europe.
And now they have another one.
Steve Stricker is the likely choice to be the next U.S. captain when the Ryder Cup goes to Whistling Straits, about an hour from where he grew up in Wisconsin. What does he do with a player who publicly puts his own interests ahead of the team?
Not that Reed cares what he says.
He caused a buzz in Boston when he took to Twitter after going to Fenway Park to sarcastically thank the PGA Tour for free tickets that put him, his wife and her sister in the "line drive section." Reed, who earned just short of $5 million this year, said he paid $650 to upgrade the tickets and ended up in the same section as the rest of the PGA Tour at the game.
He took a dig at Spieth this year at Bay Hill while asking for relief from a palmetto bush. When denied free relief, Reed said, "I guess my name needs to be Jordan Spieth." He then asked for a third opinion "from an unbiased source."
Reed doesn't mind being portrayed as the Ugly American as long as it means winning the Ryder Cup.
It won't make that any easier when he's ugly to his own team.