When groups were announced for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play on Monday, one pairing caught everyone’s eye: a Friday match between Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth.
With each player 2-0-0 entering the showdown, it’s assured that the winner will advance to bracket play while the loser will go home. And each player is embracing the event’s high-stakes nature.
“We’re going to try to one-up each other, because we’re going against each other,” Reed said after beating Charl Schwartzel in the early afternoon. “It should be a nice day.”
“I’ve been very nice to him this week,” Spieth said off a victory over Haotong Li, eager not to give Reed any extra motivation. He added that although the two have never played a match against each other, they’re familiar with the competitive atmosphere given their experience as Ryder Cup teammates.
“He knows if I get angry, that brings the best golf in me, but I have enough tricks that I can do to myself to make myself angry,” Reed said. “My caddie knows how to kind of push my buttons, he’ll be able to do that.”
“In alternate shot, if we don’t win a hole, I want it to be his fault and he wants it to be my fault. So it’s just — we’ve almost played every single match we’ve been involved in together against each other. We just happen to be wearing the same colors for a lot of those matches.”
When asked to identify Spieth’s greatest match-play strength, Reed was quick to throw a jab. “I don’t know, my back still hurts from the last Ryder Cup,” he said.
In contrast, Spieth ended his press conference with a compliment to his opponent. “He’s a phenomenal putter. He really is, especially in this format where he putts aggressively. And he walks into every putt really looking like it’s going in.”
The pairing will go off No. 1 tee at 1:32 p.m.