Is Patrick Reed a Top Five…Cheater?

Patrick Reed finds himself in some hot water with the golfing press. I explain why he is doing his best to dig the hole even deeper.

Thrash TalkI am no fan of Patrick Reed. My first impression was so bad that he will likely never overcome my dislike, no matter how many Ryder Cup matches he wins. My first impression was his interview stating that he is a top five golfer when he was just starting out. I like confidence but I like it in moderation.

He has proven himself to be a good golfer. There is no denying that. We can argue about whether or not he is in the top five, but he is certainly good enough to play on the US Ryder Cup team. Recently he has been the talk on tour for a piece done about his past. Shane Ryan has been working on a book titled: “Slaying the Tiger: A Year Inside the Ropes on the New PGA Tour”. In it he details the troubled past of one Patrick Reed. The story outlines a troubled young man who cheated, which in golf, is the worst label a guy can get. Patrick has now came back saying in an interview on the Golf Channel that the story is false and he has statements from his former golf coaches saying they are false. Now it has become a good old fashion he said he said scenario. He is now asking for a retraction from the books publishers and also Ryan himself.

I don’t understand the need for Reed to fight this story. As with Dan Jenkins and Tiger all that is being done now is Reed is adding gasoline to a story that started with only the most serious of golf fan knowing. To now we are at a point where all of the golfing industry knowing about the story. For starters it happened in the past. Many people have a troubled past, so what, it carries no bearing on your future. He is not the first or the last professional athlete to have a checkered past. He claims in his interview with the Golf Channel that being called a cheater and a thief in golf is very damaging to a player’s reputation. I disagree, if he goes forward and has no further incidents then very few people will call him a cheat or a thief.

I would have advised Patrick to move on and ignore this story. Go win tournaments and when asked, say that all these stories many of which are untrue are in your past and you are looking forward to your bright future. Don’t dignify a story you believe to be untrue by trying to get a legal statement from your coach which is not exactly what I would say is backing you up. The letter from the coach reads like it was written by Reed’s lawyer and this coach signed it because it basically said very little. This is a total non-story made into a story by Reed himself. He was different as a college kid, weren’t we all? This doesn’t need to be such a big deal that you are forced to go onto the Golf Channel and defend yourself.

Patrick Reed

If he was a cheater or a thief during his college days it has no bearing on the person that stands before us now. He is different, he has a new life, with his wife and child. All this happened in the past and it is best left in the past. He needs to ignore it.

Ryan is not likely to retract what he said. He likely knew when he wrote this portion of the book it may rustle some feathers and become the cornerstone of his book. Book publishers and book editors have experience with this kind of situation they know to make sure that there are multiple sources and at least one kind of corroborating evidence. The publisher has likely been sued by guys like Reed more times than they care to count. So there is no retraction on the horizon. I wonder if Reed thought he would get a moral win by asking for a retraction he is never likely to get. He would look like he is trying to defend himself from this attack, no, in the end all he did was fuel a bigger fire.

Reporters are like mosquitoes. They look for a heat source and go extract blood from wherever that heat source is. By continuing the story he only makes himself look hotter like there is still more blood there to find. Now they sense you are a big juicy blood source and they should look deeper, dig deeper to find if there is more to this story. If he chose to ignore it and let the heat burn out the reporters would sense there is nothing there to write about move on. There was a time where a reporter might continue to dig, but those reporters are gone. With our instant news cycles the story has to be hot right away or people will get bored with it.

Best thing Reed can do now is move on. Win more tournaments and give the line I recommend, it is his past, everyone has one, but he needs to say he is looking to the future. His future is very bright, he is one of the top golfers in the world, a beautiful wife and child, this story is meaningless and he should move on from it.

Photo credits: © Getty Images.

4 thoughts on “Is Patrick Reed a Top Five…Cheater?”

  1. Nice commentary Michael. I would have to think about how I would react in the same situation. I would feel I would need to defend myself. I’m not sure I would go as far as a law suit though. I think he would have been better served by making the comment you suggested. The reporter is really trying to sell books and controversy helps that sadly.

  2. I think you said it best: is he or was he?

    As to leaving it alone, Reed seems to defend himself too much whether it’s his Top 5 game or these allegations, so while it would be best to tone down his protests or his high public opinion of his game, the press will ask.

    I think the best retort to a question would be, “I don’t agree with the writer as to his version of events, and I was there. Witnesses to events are not always reliable even if they think they are truthful. Besides, one never knows whether people have an axe to grind. Truthfully, we are always learning about ourselves, that’s life.”

  3. I dated a gal my senior year of high school and into my freshman year of college, when we broke up. I did not see or speak to her for almost 25 years, when we ran into each other. She made it obvious she was interested in me. As we were both divorcees, we began seeing each other. And her basic character was unchanged. We had both aged and both mellowed, but it her “essence”, her “character” was remarkably unchanged. And I have reconnected in recent years with a childhood friend who I had not seen in 30 years. Same deal. I know, a minute sample size. 2 examples do not make a rule. But, I really believe there is something to it. I’ll keep an open mind with Reed — and note that his opportunities for cheating in golf must be pretty tough on the Tour — but I also won’t be surprised if we learn of another controversy of this nature in the future.

  4. I disagree that if nothing happens moving forward that people will not remember him as a cheater. Vijay Singh is still to this day dogged by alleged incidents that saw him banned from a tour. Those alleged incidents were probably before Patrick was even born but are something he still has to deal with…

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