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Ryder Cup
February 01, 2021

Patrick Reed moves up (for now) into the last U.S. Ryder Cup qualifying spot, knocking out Brooks Koepka

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Donald Miralle

Patrick Reed smiles on Sunday en route to a five-stroke win at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Patrick Reed has played in the last three Ryder Cups and been a stalwart for the United States in the biennial competition. After a five-stroke victory on Sunday at the Farmers Insurance Open, he has a chance to again be on the team for the Americans this fall.

Points earned from his win at Torrey Pines moved Reed up to sixth in the Ryder Cup points standings, with the top six players after the BMW Championship at the end of August earning automatic spots on Captain Steve Stricker’s team. The person Reed bumped out, at least temporarily, from the top six: Brooks Koepka.

Of course, there are seven-plus months still until the qualifying ends, a long time in which a lot can happen.

Suffice it to say, a lot happened over the weekend at the Farmers, where Reed found himself embroiled in yet another controversy, this time over his handling of an embedded ball during Saturday’s third round. The incident sparked outrage in many corners of the game, including from some of his peers.

“It’s sad,” Lanto Griffin said. “Kind of pisses us off.”

“Obviously, the talk amongst the boys isn’t great, I guess,” added Xander Schauffele, who was also a teammate of Reed’s on the 2019 Presidents Cup team. “but he’s protected by the tour and that’s all that matters, I guess.”

That Reed carried on unbothered amid the turmoil of embed-gate is unsurprising. He’s made a career of doing so.

But what impact will the incident have on the chances of Reed wearing red, white and blue at Whistling Straits come September should he not automatically qualify for the team?

It’s not the first time the question has been asked.

In 2018, Reed caused a stir in Paris when, following the Americans’ blowout loss to the Europeans, he called out then-captain Jim Furyk, along with Jordan Spieth, who had been a successful partner with Reed in previous matches before the two were split up. A month after the incident, Reed said he’d spoken to teammates, the issue was “put to bed” and that everyone had “moved on.” That included Stricker, who was an assistant captain at the time.

Fast forward to 2019. Tiger Woods—who had been paired with Reed for two unsuccessful matches in Paris—extended an olive branch of sorts by using one of his captain’s picks on Reed for the U.S. Presidents Cup competing in Australia. Then, a week before the matches at Royal Melbourne, Reed was involved in another rules flap at Woods’ Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. The matter followed Reed to Oz, and he found himself at the center of one more imbroglio, this time when his caddie got into an altercation with a spectator who’d been giving Reed grief over what took place in the Bahamas. Reed, again not surprisingly, won his singles match the following day, sans his usual looper, to help spark the Americans in a comeback victory.

Now comes Torrey Pines.

Reed beat an impressive field, winning by five on a difficult course that later this year will host the U.S. Open but did so with a pall hanging over the event. Afterward, he was asked what his golf reveals about his character.

“The biggest thing is how resilient and passionate I am for the game of golf and also how passionate I am for my country,” Reed said. “There’s no other reason why I’m wearing red, white and blue today.”

Whether he’ll get to wear it come September, however, remains to be seen.