MELBOURNE — The man formerly known as Captain America has been benched.
Patrick Reed, once the fiery heart of American teams, will sit out Saturday afternoon’s foursomes after losing for the third straight time alongside Webb Simpson.
The morning four-ball session felt like the low point of a disastrous two weeks for Reed, who is now 1-6 in his last seven matches representing the U.S., with the only win coming in an all-but-meaningless singles match at last year’s Ryder Cup. Reed failed to make a single birdie in the best-ball format, and he and Simpson trailed for the entirety of their eventual 5 and 3 loss to Hideki Matsuyama and C.T. Pan. He will be a spectator as his teammates try to cut into the Internationals’ 9-5 lead on Saturday afternoon.
“Today, they just didn’t play well, and that happens,” American captain Tiger Woods said.
After a 10-4-4 start to his team-play career, Reed’s overall record across the Presidents and Ryder Cup has dropped to 11-10-5.
He was, for the third straight match, serenaded with jeers and insults before and after every shot he hit at Royal Melbourne. “Get in the bunker!” was a favorite. After he and Simpson fell 4 down after 15: “Can you dig yourself out of 4 down, Patrick?”
The most cutting jab was a chirp dripping in sarcasm: “You got this, Captain America."
Of course, he has no one to blame but himself.
Reed became Public Enemy No. 1 in the golf world when he improved his line of play by moving sand behind his ball at the Hero World Challenge, then insisted it wasn’t intentional despite damning video evidence. His actions plagued his team with an unwanted storyline that made the 10,000-mile journey with them over here to Australia. Every one of teammates was asked about it incessantly in the leadup to this competition.
That would be fine, so long as your play outweighs the distraction you cause. That has not been the case. Not by a mile. Reed and Simpson trailed for 43 of the 49 holes they played together, including being behind the entire way on an overcast Saturday morning in the Sandbelt. He made matters worse by mimicking a shovel motion on Friday (while 2 down), an attempt at trolling that rubbed everyone who saw it the wrong way.
There was an audible gasp when Woods announced on Friday afternoon that he’d trot out Reed and Simpson for the third straight session. He believed they were playing well and “doing the little things right,” and that it was “only a matter of time” until things fell their way.
They’re still waiting for that time. Simpson didn’t help matters much on Saturday—he managed only one birdie of his own—but Reed’s play was bitterly disappointing … if you were one of the people still rooting for him.
He missed an eight-footer for birdie at 6, he nearly shanked his approach into the par-4 seventh, he missed the green with wedge at 10 and 11, and he failed to put any pressure on C.T. Pan on 15, eventually conceding the Taiwanese’s clinching birdie after running both his eagle and birdie putts well past the hole.
Reed will now try to avoid going 0-4 at this Presidents Cup. But he’ll have to wait until Sunday singles to do it.