PGA Tour professional and Masters champion Patrick Reed addresses the media ahead of the Saudi International, touching on subjects ranging from thoughts on the new proposed golf tour and his presidents cup experience.
European Tour: Patrick Reed addresses the media prior to round one of the Saudi International
THE MODERATOR: We would like to welcome world No. 12 Patrick Reed here to the Saudi International.
Patrick, you played in the inaugural event last year. Tell us, how does it feel to return?
PATRICK REED: Yeah, really enjoyed it last year, and look forward to playing it today obviously. I’m very excited to be back. I absolutely enjoyed the time I had here last year, and aside from hole No. 18, I played the golf course pretty well. Hopefully I can get back to playing well and just master that 18th hole.
THE MODERATOR: Tell us a little bit about what happened on the 18th hole.
PATRICK REED: On the weekend, I hit the fairway both times. I walked off with a 10 and a 6. You know, whenever you do something like that, it definitely obviously kills your round, especially on a reachable par 5.
I think the biggest thing now is to learn from those mistakes and if I continue on the trend, since Saturday was a 10 and Sunday was a 6, that means I’m improving four shots each time, so hopefully I have two this week.
THE MODERATOR: You haven’t been out playing yet, so today will be your first look?
PATRICK REED: Correct. I walked around a little bit yesterday whenever I got here, kind of keep my legs moving. Just walking out around the golf course a little bit, it looks perfect. I practised a good bit yesterday on the practise facilities. The putting greens are rolling nice and quick. Yeah, we look forward to it.
THE MODERATOR: Yesterday, at your request, you went back to visit a school you were at last year. Can you tell us about why you wanted to go back and how it was?
PATRICK REED: It was unbelievable, going over to the World Academy, and spending time with the kid last year was a trip. Just the support they gave myself and the support they had for the tournament, for a lot of them coming out and watching the golf tournament meant a lot to me, meant a lot to what I’ve always wanted to do, and that’s to grow the game. Because of that, when I decided to come back this year, there was no doubt I was going to go over there and spend time with the kids and just enjoy my time.
THE MODERATOR: And you shipped some gifts over for them, as well.
PATRICK REED: We did. We gave them a some gear and tee shirts. The kids love it and hopefully I see them walking around later this week.
Q. The teacher who was with them watching you play, they asked the teacher, “Are we allowed to clap,” because they had not a clue whether they could clap?
PATRICK REED: So last year, they didn’t really know what they could or couldn’t do because golf was so new to a lot of the kids. You know, last year, they were great, the kids that came out. The support they gave, they caught on pretty quickly on when to clap, when not to clap, etc. It’s just awesome to see the interest, coming out and watch and trying to learn something new and something different.
Q. It’s been a difficult few weeks, and you then go to a place like that where eyes are lighting up; what does that mean to you personally?
PATRICK REED: It means a lot. You know, when I first turned professional, it was live and breathe golf. You know, I didn’t have children of my own, and you know, your attitude was determined by how you’ve played on the golf course. You either had a good day because — you had a good day on the golf course or your day wasn’t that great, how you played.
Once I started having children, it just put golf in perspective. When I want to leave the golf course, didn’t matter whether it was a good day or a bad day. Just coming home and seeing your kids puts everything in perspective. You forget about golf. Just want to hang out with them.
Any time I can go and hang out with kids around the world and try to grow the game of golf and get away from the game, it’s awesome. And then to be able to tie golf back into it and try to teach them about golf or something different, it’s always a lot of fun.
Q. Because you play so much on The European Tour, you don’t get Ryder Cup points for this. Do you think it’s something that The PGA of America should look at; that somehow as a European Tour member, you play and get some points on some list?
PATRICK REED: I think it’s something that we definitely need to look into. You know, because at the end of the day, all of us want to grow the game of golf, want to improve golf worldwide, not just in our own countries. For me, it would help for sure because I play everywhere.
At the end of the day, we know what the criterias are ahead of time, so you kind of set up schedules for that. With you for me I’ve always wanted to be a worldwide player, so it’s not going it deter me coming overseas playing. I absolutely love the time I’ve spent on The European Tour and to come over here and play in these events, it means a lot to me.
Q. Obviously last time around for the Masters, you were defending. Now you come in, differently. No pressure on you with regards to the defending part. So how do you approach this time around and do you approach it any differently?
PATRICK REED: Well, I think now I’ll just get back to playing my regular schedule on how I prepared and the schedule I had during the week of the tournament.
Last year, being my first defence of a major and not really knowing what to expect, you know, on obligations, things that come up throughout the week, it was a learning experience for me. I felt like I didn’t have my full focus on actual golf, and you know, this year, I need to get back to focusing on golf. The good thing is now I know what to expect after winning a major. When that time comes again, I know how to handle it to play the best golf I can to hopefully defend.
Q. I think it’s fair to say that you’ve shown in the last few years quite a thick skin. At the same time, has some of the behavior towards you in the last couple of months concerned you? Have you been upset by some of the behavior?
PATRICK REED: Honestly for me, I try to go out there and play golf day-by-day and live life the way I need to handle myself on and off the golf course, and if I do that, that’s all I can control. I can’t control what people say, what people write or anything like that.
All I can control is what I do, and if I’m happy, I feel like I’m living the right way. That’s what I have to do because at the end the day, you can’t please everyone, and if you allow naysayers or people to write things that are negative to affect you, then it’s going to affect your ultimate goal and that’s to play the best golf we can.
Q. Have some people crossed, though, at the same time?
PATRICK REED: There’s always people that cross the lines. That happens. But those are the things where you just have to keep your head down, keep plugging and continue playing the best golf you can.
Q. At the Presidents Cup, how impressive was Tiger as captain, and if you do get on that Whistling Straits side, how impressive would he be in the team room as a player?
PATRICK REED: Well, he’s always impressive as a player. That’s a given. But then, also, now watching him not only be a captain but being a playing captain, it was very impressive the way he was able to handle everything, when it comes to handling team meetings and talking with the team and managing the team, but at the same time making sure his golf game was where it needed to be. It was very impressive.
You know, it just speaks volumes of how mentally strong Tiger is and how he can compartmentalise different tasks in order to continue playing well that week and not allowing anything to slip by.
Q. What are your thoughts on the new world tour?
PATRICK REED: Obviously I’m here to talk about this week and this awesome event and being over here and playing on The European Tour. I really don’t have any comment for this right now.
Q. You’re the only one that’s come in here that wouldn’t comment about it. Is that because you don’t know enough about it or because —
PATRICK REED: Honestly, it’s because I’m here playing in a golf tournament that I really respect and I really respect playing over here on The European Tour.
I don’t really know enough about it, as well, to really make comments about it.
Q. Can you confirm, too, that you got a letter from Jay Monahan by e-mail?
PATRICK REED: The whole tour has. Every tour has gotten, every player on Tour has gotten an e-mail.
Q. And have you read that e-mail?
PATRICK REED: I actually saw it for the first time last night and I didn’t — I didn’t read it after I got done with my obligations.
Like I said, I don’t know enough about it, and I would need to do a deeper dive to make any comments about it.
Q. You’ve spoken about how crowded the schedule is with The Ryder Cup. How are you going to handle the schedule and the fact that the majors are now compacted in such a small period, and then you’ve got the Olympics and The Ryder Cup?
PATRICK REED: The Olympics is always on my mind. Any way I can go and represent my country, it’s something I’ve always dreamed about and always loved doing. It’s always on my mind, but at the end of the day, to make Ryder Cup teams, to make Olympic teams and things like that, you’ve got to play well.
That’s my biggest focus right now is to play good golf and get myself into position where I can actually make the team. You know, I mean, the condensed schedule, to me, it’s just normal for me. As much as I play and travel around the world, it doesn’t make a difference whether they are spread out through all 12 months or whether they are combined into two months.
Still going to play because I would love to compete and love being out here with the guys and going to battle with them.
Q. Not asking you to comment — you said you respect being here and you don’t want to talk about it, which is fine. But one thing that slightly surprises me — was it a very long e-mail that you didn’t manage to get through it?
PATRICK REED: The reason I didn’t get through it was the jet-lag and everything with flying over and how long the day I had yesterday. By the time I got back to the room, I could barely even, you know, open up my phone.
Literally as I was going back, texting my wife at 9.15 and told her that I love her, was going to bed and literally when I got to the room, TV didn’t even go on. I was asleep at 9.20. For me, it was one of those things that I didn’t think I had the mental capacity and energy to really look through e-mails, read e-mails, etc.
Q. I see. But had you won the equivalent of the lottery or football pools, would you have noted what it said? Everybody seemed to have got this e-mail, but nobody’s got through it. In my mind, I’m seeing a very long and boring e-mail. Maybe it wasn’t.
PATRICK REED: Like I said, I wouldn’t be able to tell you because I didn’t read it yet (laughter). But once I read it, I’ll be able to tell if you it was boring and interesting, etc.
It’s just one of those things with playing last week and traveling overseas and getting here Tuesday and having some obligations to take care of yesterday, I just haven’t really had time to open up and take care of other business.
THE MODERATOR: You also didn’t manage to read the press conference schedule this morning, which was two lines. Just saying. Carry on. Any other questions?
Q. I have a question about there’s three Saudi players here, two amateurs and one turning professional. They talked yesterday about how Tiger was inspirational growing up. How much responsibility to you feel as a role model to inspire others to take up the game — for kids who might never have seen golf before?
PATRICK REED: It’s awesome seeing players from Saudi playing. I hope they play well. Hopefully someone can make the weekend, because it’s a special time to play on the weekend in a golf tournament.
You know, it’s always been part of our responsibility as top players, especially if you travel around the world, to play well and get ourselves in contention and give back and try to grow the game. Because that’s the only way golf is going to grow in the next generation and generations after that is by doing things that Mr. Nicklaus, Player and Palmer did, and the things that Tiger and Phil have done, and now it’s our role with DJ, Brooks being myself, Rory, guys like that, to continue to grow the game, continue to strive and play, play well, and be good role models on and off the golf course in order to allow the game to continue down the panel that we all want it to go.
THE MODERATOR: What was your favourite question from the lads? All the kids asked questions yesterday. My favourite question was, a little by who put his hand up and said, “Do you remember me?” What was your favourite question?
PATRICK REED: My favourite one, wow, there’s so many. There’s just so many. I think it had to do have been — one of the favourite questions/comment, one of the top rows, one of the boys asked, “How many holes in one have you had?”
And I said, “Two.”
“That’s it?” (Laughter).
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
January 29, 2020
King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia
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