Is Patrick Reed Good For Golf?

Patrick Reed is a lightning rod of controversy. On one hand, Reed is an exceptional golfer, now ranked 8th in the world. On the other, he carries the burden of “cheater” maybe the worst reputation in the sport. His background is rife with accusations of stealing his college teammates money, improving lies and only looking after himself.

I’m probably in the minority, but I find myself rooting for him. Not because of his reputed accusations but as a villain golf desperately needs. Did he knowingly cheat? Maybe. But it’s impossible to prove intent. Yes, the bad form has occurred more than a few times. But somehow he filters out the noise, throws his headphones on and continues to play some of the best golf on the planet.

The careful vanilla similarities of PGA Tour members is apparent as they fret about endorsement consequences or vilified by the social media police. Yet Reed is an intriguing figure on how to play your way–no matter Ryder Cup teammates and the constant hammering by the press and galleries.

I find that compelling viewing. The worst emotion is not necessarily love or hate but apathy. When no one cares. So Reed continues to lead his life only with his “team” and feels that’s more than enough–public adulation be damned. Ironically, maybe Reed is apathetic to public opinion.’s Michael Bamberger mirrors many of his media peers by stating unless Reed owns up to his rules “blunders”, it’ll be hard to root for him.

Everyone who follows golf closely has a strong opinion about Reed. And he does not seem to care. That speaks volumes about him. Like another man with a closet filled with a Nike-issued red shirts and black pants, Reed knows how to take a slight, real or imagined, and turn it into something useful. Here’s a new one: Just channel it.

In his remarks to reporters after his victory on Sunday, Reed was asked if he liked the feeling of the world being against him.

“I’m used to it,” the winner said. “At the end of the day, all I can control is me and what I do on and off the golf course.”

Some need to remember that Patrick’s bunker issue at the Hero World Challenge didn’t go unpunished. He took his 2-stroke penalty that ultimately cost him a win.

The culprit is really the PGA Tour. They called him “a gentleman” for taking his medicine without rancor at the Hero. Until the Tour gets tough with those playing fast and loose with the rules, the cheating issues will continue.

For me, whether you love or hate Reed is immaterial. The fact that such strong emotions exist is what makes him so compelling and a must-see when playing. Maybe he’s the New England Patriots of golf who allegedly–more than once–benefitted by playing fast and loose with the rules. Yet, they also attract fans like moths to light who love to hate them and continue to watch and talk.