P. T. Barnum, the 19th century showman and founder of the Barnum & Bailey Circus, is often associated with the phrase “there’s no such thing as bad publicity.” I wonder if he’d say that if he met Patrick Reed.
Reed, a nine-time winner on the PGA Tour at just 30 years old, is a fascinating case study when it comes to age-old adages. With Reed, the highs are as impressive as the lows are embarrassing.
In college, Reed led Augusta State to consecutive national titles in 2010 and 2011, after being dismissed from Georgia. Reed has performed at a high level in the biggest moments and boasts one of the most respected short games in golf. One day he’s the fiery, entertaining talent who previously has been embraced as Captain America for his Ryder Cup heroics. The next you’ve got a fan screaming “CHEATER!” at the top of his lungs as he putts in a playoff in Hawaii.
Mixed among the wins at premier courses like Augusta National, Bethpage Black, Doral and now Torrey Pines are a handful of run-ins with the Rules of Golf, including this weekend’s shady situation involving an embedded ball.
The full exchange as Patrick Reed takes embedded ball relief on No. 10. pic.twitter.com/gSPH6PrAoW
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 30, 2021
One thing was abundantly clear this weekend. Whether you think he’s an eye sore or entertaining, Patrick Reed doesn’t care. He isn’t going anywhere, any time soon, golf be damned.
It begs the question: is Patrick Reed good for golf? It depends on who you ask.
Those who view professional golf as a vessel to promote the best of the game they love will say absolutely not, “kick him off the Tour, Doug!” as Shooter McGavin’s memorable line from Happy Gilmore goes. His talent gets lost in the cloud of controversy that seemingly follows him everywhere he goes.
On the other hand, those who view professional golf as an entertainment product, much like every other professional sport, see Reed for what he is to the game: someone other than Tiger Woods – and maybe Bryson DeChambeau now? – who evokes an actual emotion that pulls you in.
Nothing against Carlos Ortiz, who shared the 54-hole lead this weekend with Reed at the Farmers Insurance Open, but how many of you would have tuned in on Sunday to see if he could convert? And can you truthfully tell me you know what tournament he won on the PGA Tour just four months ago without looking it up? Despite all the negatives that come with Reed being in the field, he’s still one of the most interesting players on Tour and raises a tournament’s status exponentially in terms of pure entertainment value.
Everyone loves a villain, and it’s a role Reed has seemed to embrace. But at what cost? Social media flack is one thing, and this weekend had it in spades, but internal criticism carries a different weight.
“I mean, he did everything by the book according to the official and everyone stood by there,” said fellow pro Xander Schauffele, who finished in a five-way tie for second at the Farmers. “Obviously the talk amongst the boys isn’t great, I guess, but he’s protected by the (PGA) Tour and that’s all that matters, I guess.”
Barnum could sell just about anything. So can Reed, whether you like it or not.
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/02/03/pga-tour-patrick-reed-controversy-publicity/