Why Patrick Reed says hecklers don’t bother him at all

March 11, 2020

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Patrick Reed hears the hecklers.

There are times when he doesn’t hear them, the mutters and whispers from onlookers while he stares down a shot in competition. There are times when he definitely hears them, like at the Presidents Cup, where too much heckling turned into a dust-up between his caddie and a fan. And there are times where it’s not clear whether he heard or not, like at the Tournament of Champions, when one fan yelled “Cheater!” in his backswing. But he definitely hears them.

But Reed, currently one of the game’s hottest players, said on Wednesday before the Players Championship that none of the heckling bothers him.

“No,” he told a reporter.

“No?” the reporter asked.

“No,” Reed responded. “I mean, I think the PGA Tour has done a great job on the security and the fans. I feel like, as a whole, the fans have been pretty good. You’re always going to get a couple people here and there that are going to say something. That’s normal, any sport you play.”

Patrick Reed says he'll have no problem blocking out the noise at this week's Players.
Patrick Reed says he'll have no problem blocking out the noise at this week's Players.
Getty Images

“For me, when I get behind the ropes and I get inside those ropes it’s, ‘I have a job to do’ and that’s go out and play good golf and to have a chance to win on Sundays, to provide for my family and to go out and represent myself the best way I can. I feel like I’ve been doing that.”

Reed was asked a follow-up, whether he anticipates the packed house around the 16th green and 17th tee to give him a hard time. He gave an expert deferral, redirecting his answer to his caddie hitting the green during Wednesday’s practice round (“That means I cannot hit it in the water the next four days,”) and his strategy (“being a drawer of the golf ball I don’t ever really go for [the Sunday pin]).

To hear Reed talk, the ongoing controversy that surrounds him is largely a media creation. In his world, he’s at least partly right. As he finished his practice round, a line of autograph hounds and selfie-seekers eagerly awaited, and Reed obliged, pulling a Sharpie from his pocket and gamely making time for each request. He doesn’t spend much time on the internet, relying on his team (his wife, his mother-in-law, his caddie and his coaches) to sort through what might be written about him. The large majority of his day-to-day in-person interactions are positive.

Other Tour players privately trade critiques of Reed’s on-course conduct — the waste area incident at the Hero, his caddie’s incident at the Presidents Cup, allegations of past misconduct — but few see any benefit to speaking out on the record about it. Brooks Koepka was one of the few who did, but Reed said he hasn’t seen him since then.

Summed up, Reed doesn’t think his past conduct needs to be addressed further, period. In his eyes, doing so is just stirring the pot without reason.

“At the end of the day the noise goes away once y’all decide it goes,” he said to a room full of reporters. “I mean, I feel like the players and all of us have moved on, but at the end of the day all we can do is go out and continue playing good golf and doing what we’re supposed to do.”

The noise isn’t going anywhere, of course. Reed may be playing the best golf of his life, which adds to the praise but adds to the scrutiny, too. So if blocking out the noise is working, Reed had best keep doing what he’s doing.

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