Patrick Reed’s caddie saga ends with taste of Presidents Cup redemption

MELBOURNE, Australia — Patrick Reed had to figure he was going to hear it from the crowd during Sunday’s Singles Matches of the Presidents Cup and there were moments when the heckling was ugly.

“You’re a cheat, Reed,” someone yelled as he approached the 10th green at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.

“You’re a disgrace, Reed,” shouted another.

At times the heckling was a bit more civil.

“Good shot, Shovel,” someone cracked when Reed blasted a shot out of the bunker on the ninth hole.

“Where’s your caddie?” was another common taunt.

The incident in the Bahamas where Reed was assessed a two-stroke penalty for improving his lie in a waste bunker made his life in Australia this weekend miserable. But he let his clubs have the final word in his duel with C.T. Pan of Chinese Taipei on Sunday, collecting a much-needed 4&2 victory for his U.S. team.

It earned him a big hug from U.S. captain Tiger Woods and gave the U.S. its first lead, 11-10. The Americans would eventually retain the Cup, 16-14.

Reed stormed to a 6-up lead with six birdies among his first seven holes. Pan, one of seven rookies on the International squad, seemed rattled for a bit, but managed to fight his way back in the match by winning three straight holes and eventually finding himself 2-down after he made birdie at the par-4 13th. But Reed went 3-up with a birdie at the par-5 15th and closed the match with a birdie at the 16th. He made eight birdies on the day.

“When you make birdies you don’t hear much,” Reed said. “When you’re not up on your matches, the other team, the crowd will get more vocal. If you get up in your match, the crowd will be pretty quiet. I was able to do that.”

Reed’s swing coach Kevin Kirk was on his bag after his regular caddie Kessler Karain was suspended by the PGA Tour after cursing and shoving a fan following Saturday morning’s Four-ball session.

Karain, who is also Reed’s brother-in-law, admitted his actions and showed no remorse after Reed endured three days of heckling from crowds in Australia. In a statement to @foreplaypod, Karain said the man stood three feet from Reed and told him “you f—ing suck.”

Karain said, “I got off the cart and shoved him, said a couple of things, probably a few expletives.”

Security intervened.

“I don’t think there’s a caddy [sic] I know that would blame me,” Karain wrote.

Reed admitted it was a difficult week.

“With what went down [Saturday] and really how the whole week was, it was tough,” he said. “Golf was tough.

“I think the biggest thing is just to continue grinding and not let the crowds or let people get in the way of what you’re trying to do and that’s play golf,” he added. “The past couple of days were tough and today still wasn’t easy.”

He was glad to have Kirk on his bag.

“He knew kind of what to do and how to handle different situations like Kessler,” Reed said. “He’s even keeled, so it was easy to go out there and play golf.”

Saturday’s incident put a stain on the Presidents Cup, which was set for perhaps the most watched and dramatic finish in the 25-year history of the event with Woods serving as a playing captain. That should have been the story, but much of the focus was on Reed and the crowd reaction on Sunday.

Team events can bring out the best and worst in fans. These events are also a chance to dress in the colors of your country, enjoy sing-alongs and watch players show more emotion than they would at regular Tour events.

Had the Presidents Cup not been played the week after Reed’s infraction in the Bahamas, it would have largely been forgotten. Instead Reed and his Captain America persona had to endure more abuse than he deserved.

After losing his first three matches, he provided the only answer he could Sunday. A victory in his singles.

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