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Reading Reed: Breaking down the champ’s post-round comments

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Following the WGC-Cadillac Championship, winner Patrick Reed sat down for the traditional post-tournament press conference, as champions tend to do. The three-time tour winner burst out of the gate with statements about his confidence and the work he’s put in to get where he is. Where he is —as he pointed out on multiple occasions—is a winner of three of his first 14 PGA Tour events.

Before looking at the substance of his comments, it’s important to point out the two camps fans file into when presented with the athlete who seems a tad too self-congratulatory.

On the one hand, there are those who beat the drum of modesty at all costs. For them, even the most transparent attempts at false modesty and humble bragging are better than an outright expression of extreme confidence in one’s self and abilities.

On the other, those who would like to see more athletes expressing their true beliefs. For this type, seeing Patrick Reed step up to the microphone and say the following would be refreshing: “I’m really good at golf. This was the toughest tournament of the year, and I won. I expect to win every time I tee it up. Whoo!”

The WGC-Cadillac Championship’s winner was not so brash, to be sure. Perhaps there’s something fitting in the fact that Reed assumed a bold posture at a course owned by a man whose bold posturing is synonymous with his name.

Here are a few morsels from Reed’s presser. And remember, the elephant in the room with any soundbyte is the question the interviewee is responding to.

For example, before handing the microphone over to Reed, the moderator said, “Just start by talking about three wins in your last 14 starts, just talk about where you’ve come over that time…” So Patrick Reed was soft pitched opportunities to speak highly of himself…and he hit the ball out of the yard more than once.

Reed began by thanking his “whole team.” Good, standard move for an awards ceremony, not as much for a post-round presser. The golfer’s comments are indicative of his mindset and willingness to share credit, certainly not the calling card of a narcissist.

In response to a question about his confidence, Reed said the following:

“I have a lot of confidence in my game.  It’s one of those things that you build confident by how hard you work, and you know, I feel like I’m one of the hardest workers out here and it definitely shows; I have three wins in 14 starts, especially in a field like this, to go wire-to-wire.  It’s just one of those things that I feel like with how hard I’ve worked, I mean, I’m working my way up to become a Top-5 player in the world.”

What would we prefer, though? Reed pretend he can’t believe he won and “Aw, shucks!” his way through the presser? He’s worked hard, and he’s entitled to enjoy his success.

Reed was asked about how it feels to have three wins in 14 starts, he said:

“To have three wins in 14 starts, to do the Monday qualifiers the way I did that, and just all those things that we had to go through, it’s just showing that we belong out here, as well as we belong to be in the conversation every week.”

Again, Patrick Reed is a player with a pedigree, but one who struggled to make it onto the Tour. He also routinely lapses into “Team Reed” mode, alternately saying “I” and “we,” which may be part of the issue: Reed is used to hiding behind the “we” of he and caddie-wife Justine. With her pregnant and off the bag, her husband is thrust to the forefront.

Later in the conference, Reed elaborated that his confidence has been built up slowly and he highlighted the touchstone moments. Surely, we can’t blame a man for an honest recap of the building of his self belief when asked where his confidence comes from.

Reed, who should nearly crack the top 20 of the Official World Golf Rankings with the win, hasn’t received the benefit of the full two year rolling period. He was questioned about remarks he made about feeling like he’s one of the top five golfers in the world.

Perhaps the stats and wins haven’t caught up with the self belief and expectations, but would we ever have faulted a young Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods for similar comments?

Reed offered an honest assessment of what winning this tournament means:

“To play against a field like that and go wire-to-wire and close it off at the end, it just shows that I have what it takes to play at the top level, as well as have what it takes to be one of the top players in the world just like them.”

Golf writers would likely say something similar about Patrick Reed after winning a difficult tournament on a difficult golf course. Is it problematic that the 23-year-old echoed what is likely both a popular belief and his legitimate opinion? I don’t think so.

Reed didn’t disrespect his opponents and his comments aren’t on an Ian Poulter “soon it’s going to be just me and Tiger” level of arrogance and delusion: 3 wins in 14 starts is very impressive. The only golfer winning more regularly as of late is Jimmy Walker. Patrick Reed is truly on the rise. There’s no problem with him saying so.

So, instead of criticizing the golfer for the tone or substance of his replies, let’s focus instead on this response from Reed when asked about how long he’s been working hard (stupid question, incidentally); it’s much more germane to our lives, and it may be his most telling statement of the conference. It’s statements like these we should be talking about, rather than asking whether Reed crossed the confident/braggart line:

“I’m a firm believer that if you’re not working hard, people are working hard and passing you, so you’d better work just as hard if not harder to keep up and also move forward.”

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62 Comments

62 Comments

  1. Jim

    Mar 20, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    I don’t recall Tiger Woods ever saying that he’s the best. He never put on a green jacket and looked in the camera and said “I’m the best.”
    He knew he was by far the greatest player. But he showed it on the course.
    Patrick Reed played like a top 5 player, but that wasn’t enough for him. He had to go and say it too. That was greedy. He wanted more praise I guess.
    He is a greedy man, and his belly will confirm that.

  2. Tom

    Mar 12, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    He has every right to say anything that he would like to say,right. All you duffers love to weigh in on him like “oh how dare he say that.” I say “How dare you. He’s paid his dues. He can say anything he’d like. Deal with it. He’ll be on the Ryder Cup team.” F#*@ all you j#* offs! His man is the real deal.”

    • Kirk

      Mar 12, 2014 at 6:01 pm

      Don’t us “duffers” have the right to say what we want? How do you know he will be on the Ryder Cup Team. If he is, at this point, no one will want to play with him. It’s called the Ryder Cup “Team.”

    • Rich

      Mar 13, 2014 at 3:52 am

      Hey Tom. We all have the right to say what we want (although I wish YOU wouldn’t), hence the very existence of this website. The difference is, he is in the public eye by choice and can be judged for what he says, whether you like it or not. Deal with that.

  3. Kirk

    Mar 12, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    The problem with Reeds comments are if he doesn’t immediately continue to win at a high level, he’s just a big mouth who won a few tournaments early. It’s one thing to be express happiness with your game, it’s another thing to win one big tournament and claim you’re better than nearly every player in the world.

    My concern for Reed is his physical condition. He doesn’t look like a guy who has much muscle tone or natural athletic talent. Being the best takes discipline. He also has a baby on the way.

  4. Sean O'Malley

    Mar 12, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    It’s hard to win amateur tournaments, and I can’t begin to imagine how hard it is to win professional tournaments. I don’t have any beef with anything that he said, or did. He isn’t currently ranked in the Top 5, but he certainly is playing well enough that he soon will be if he can keep it up.

    If you don’t believe in yourself, who will? I appreciate his candor, his positivity, and his good play.

  5. golfing badger

    Mar 12, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    now you the mindset needed to excel. Everyone loves the ‘killer look’ in the moment, but the under achievers blink when they hear that mind set come out of someones mouth. NOBODY needs to be an under achiever.

    He did not put anyone down. He did not play the Bubba blame game.

    Listen to his satisfaction with the results of his hard work, learn from his honesty, incorporate his belief and fearlessness, play better !

  6. WarrenPeace

    Mar 12, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    I remember a guy named Johnny Miller who much the same proclaimed he was the best in the world. He was beating the best and winning a lot of tournaments (and majors) but it was a streak and the streak ended. Hopefully Reed can continue to win and place each week and build a top 5 resume along the way. I picked him to win last week and he does have a great game but he talks like a Rory Sabatini before Tiger beat him up one day. Humility comes after life trashes you a few times…he will grow into it- let him be as great as he wants- we need young hot players.

  7. Ocglide

    Mar 12, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Patrick Reed grew up watching Tiger Woods. This is exactly the way Tiger talks so this is no surprise to me he is following Tigers example from his Red and Black Sundays to his confidence in front of the press. It worked for Tiger so I guess he thinks it will work for him, so far so good. We all know he will eventually come down to earth golf won’t let you get away with that for ever just take a look at Tiger today he is struggling just like everyone else on tour.

    • Kirk

      Mar 12, 2014 at 3:13 pm

      I’m sure Reed would be happy to set nearly every record know to the golfing world before he returns to earth. Yes, Tiger is just like everyone else, except he has 100 plus worldwide wins and is still the #1 player in the world. It’s a little early to compare Reed to Tiger.

  8. ski_co

    Mar 12, 2014 at 11:17 am

    Congratulations to Patrick Reed. Along with Jimmy Walker he been a dominant player so far this season. I think it is great he has confidence and, so far this season, he can claim he is top 5. Statistically he is first or second, both players have three wins.

  9. Troy Vayanos

    Mar 11, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    It’s good to hear some confidence in a player. As long as he can back it up then there’s nothing wrong with it.

    • Rich

      Mar 11, 2014 at 4:29 pm

      Confidence is one thing. Arrogance is another. It’s showing confidence to say “I’m playing well at the moment and I’ve been working hard so the wins are a result of that”. Arrogance is “I’m a top 5 player in the world” before you even get there. He needs to pull his head in.

  10. Jinxed

    Mar 11, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Golf Gods don’t like that kind of talk. I guarantee you wont see him in the winners circle again this year.

    • bert

      Mar 12, 2014 at 11:57 am

      guarantee??? I would like some of your money

    • scratchmeback

      Mar 18, 2014 at 9:56 am

      I’ll take that bet. Put your money where your mouth is Jinxedeepoo.

  11. Lance

    Mar 11, 2014 at 9:48 am

    It’s refreshing to see a Richard Sherman in the golfing circles, I just like a bit of spice to the flavour

  12. themanwith nogame

    Mar 10, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    He will be considered a top five player when he is ranked in the top five.

  13. AJ

    Mar 10, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    FIGJAM 2.0

  14. Martin

    Mar 10, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    Go Patrick,

    I like his confidence and the little chip on his shoulder, despite losing his swing yesterday afternoon, he held it together, scrambled like a champ and won…for the third time in less than a year.

  15. Dan

    Mar 10, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    Liked his confidence…of course he believes he can play with the top guns in the game as hes proven but you need to show a little bit of humbleness and class and be blessed with where you worked your way to. Sounded like a Richard Sherman interview in all honesty

  16. HDI

    Mar 10, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Give Reed some credit. I fall into that camp, of the guy who says “at least he believes in his confidence, right now.”

    AND – in his 3 wins in only 14 tournaments, he’s had 2 caddies, including his wife – who is now pregnant!!!! For everything to which he’s had to adjust to –

    how many of the Pros out there are doing what he’s doing, with the same sort of off-course adjustments and life-changing stuff he’s going through?

    Give him some credit. He’s doing it.

  17. Sean

    Mar 10, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    If he gave the standard canned response he would be called boring. If he gave the response he gave he’s called arrogant. No matter what he says he can’t win. 🙂

  18. bootscrilla

    Mar 10, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    So awesome watching this guy, it’s interesting how well he can play with his feet move all over the place during the swing. As far as his comments go, fine by me as long as you back it up.

  19. paul

    Mar 10, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    He may sound like he is bragging or overly confident. But if you don’t actually believe in your self that much, you won’t win. Ever since I started reading sports psychology books, I have had to judge others less for what they say when they win.

  20. Paddy

    Mar 10, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    The kid is a red hot and beat the best players in the field. The news media set him up with an ambush interview.

    • Spencer

      Mar 10, 2014 at 5:42 pm

      I’m pretty sure majority of tournaments have a post match interview immediately following the round with the winner.. don’t know how that really could have been considered an ambush interview?

    • Great Pics

      Mar 11, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      You’re still responsible for what comes out of your mouth.

  21. Dave S

    Mar 10, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    I like the kid and have no problem with what he said… it’s refreshing and he’s actually backing it up. It’s not as if he said this after his first win… but after 3 in just 14 starts. Also, what isn’t getting as much publicity is that in his entire post-round interview he humbly referred to Tiger as “Mr. Woods” and said he hopes to catch him and become #1 in the world, but that “probably won’t happen until Mr. Woods decides to retire”.

  22. Tyler

    Mar 10, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    I’m not seeing anything wrong with what he said. He’s obviously got goals and he’s working toward those goals. You don’ think that every tour pro doesn’t want to be top 5 and in the conversation every week? The difference is that this guys isn’t surprised when he achieves those goals because he believes in himself and his team. BTW, if you don’t think pro golfers have teams and can’t interchange “I” and “we” at will then you don’t understand how it works. These guys have 3 and sometimes 4 coaches (swing, mental, strength), managers, accountants, lawyers, etc… It IS a team effort.

  23. greg cartin

    Mar 10, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Reed’s confidence comes from within, and he is currently bearing the fruit of this mindset. Its a great example of the self-fulfilling prophecy. Create your own confidence first, believe in yourself, and the results will follow. Too many of us wait around for something good to happen to kickstart our self-efficacy. Patrick Reed to control of his confident mindset, and while it can come off sounding brash and arrogant, it is a big reason why he is winning!

  24. Johnny Thunders

    Mar 10, 2014 at 9:45 am

    I loved that shot he hit from under the trees on the last hole for his first win. Clutch. Seems like a confident kid who is just is telling it like he sees it. So much better than Tiger’s BS post round interviews or Rory’s.

    Like when his wife caddies, seem like a down to earth nice couple just trying to make it on the PGA Tour.

    I’m a fan.

    • Ross

      Mar 10, 2014 at 11:36 am

      down to Earth… He was praising himself and comparing his antics with the best of all time… nothing wrong with that but down to earth it ain’t

      • Dave S

        Mar 10, 2014 at 2:18 pm

        well I disagree… everything he said comparing himself to Tiger and other “Legends” regarding their winning record at his age (23) is 100% accurate… so by definition, he is entirely down-to-earth. In fact, he broke Tiger’s record of youngest to win a WGC event this week… pretty impressive.

        • DJ

          Mar 14, 2014 at 10:27 am

          He broke Tiger’s record of youngest to win a WGC event…put an asterisk on it. The WGC events didn’t begin until 1999. Tiger won 2 of the 3 that year. Let’s see Reed win another one this year.

  25. MJ

    Mar 10, 2014 at 8:56 am

    I see nothing wrong with any of these comments. I read this expecting to see that he said something ridiculous. What do people want him to say? Do they want him to look like Ricky Bobby after his first nascar win? He was asked what his experiences have been in his last 3 wins and he just described it.

    • And......

      Mar 12, 2014 at 1:19 am

      He then went on to give a run-down of all of what he considers major accomplishments from middle school to day….except no mention of a major. I will bet he doesn’t make cut at Augusta…

  26. ND Hickman

    Mar 10, 2014 at 8:14 am

    As one of the Callaway marketing people said on Twitter. He didn’t go full Kanye.

  27. Doctor Phil

    Mar 10, 2014 at 8:13 am

    I hope Patrick Read wins a major this year. I actually think he is a fun guy.

    • Doctor Phil

      Mar 14, 2014 at 5:33 am

      In addition to the above, Patrick Reed’s response was EXACTLY what a sports psychologist would expect. He doesn’t have Tiger’s body, he has the Bears’. Maybe he is just the character we need. There’s no Lee Trevinos or Chi Chi Rodrigues playing the tour any more. Go hard Patrick!

  28. Travis

    Mar 10, 2014 at 6:53 am

    I certainly understand golf’s tradition of “humbleness” if you will. If saying that you are a top 5 golfer in the world is getting this much attention, I wonder how the media would react if he said ” on a given day, I could beat Tiger or Jack”.

    Patrick has heard the press saying how bad he was and he lost it when he got into the pros. It goes both ways

    • Mike

      Mar 10, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      Good point Travis. And even though he didn’t say it, he did beat Tiger on this day plus didn’t even blink when Tiger parked next to him on the range.

  29. JDB

    Mar 10, 2014 at 5:29 am

    Hey, atleast he didn’t give the credit of winning to Jesus. He has before i.e. Streelman and Zach Johnson. Keep your religion to yourself

    • Sky

      Mar 10, 2014 at 10:16 am

      Wow!. They have the freedom of speech my friend.

      • RumtumTim

        Mar 10, 2014 at 10:42 am

        And we have the freedom to ask them to keep their prosthelytizing to themselves. Do you like it when you get cold called by a salesman?

        • Great Pics

          Mar 10, 2014 at 11:32 am

          Dumb analogy.

        • MFB

          Mar 10, 2014 at 11:34 am

          You have the freedom to watch something else or just keep you mouth shut also.

    • Tommy

      Mar 10, 2014 at 11:14 am

      You’re a very shallow guy. Why are you so threatened and insecure?

    • Jeff daschel

      Mar 10, 2014 at 2:12 pm

      Amen

    • paul

      Mar 10, 2014 at 2:42 pm

      Keep your atheism to your self and stop forcing your belief in only your self on others…

  30. Rich

    Mar 10, 2014 at 3:43 am

    Impressed by his golf but not by his comments…………he just sounds like another golf pro who thinks his [email protected] don’t stink if you ask me.

  31. TheLegend

    Mar 10, 2014 at 1:50 am

    I like what he said. He told the truth. That’s what I want to hear. He was not bragging. He just saying hey im hot right now and im running with it. I bet when he has a bad day he says so.

  32. Forrest

    Mar 10, 2014 at 1:37 am

    I knew Patrick when he was a kid. Just a chubby kid with a Ping bag slung over his shoulders, walking up and down the fairways of Old Brack in San Antonio. The brashness, the confidence, the “I’ve got the grit to kick this golf course in its teeth”, none of that is new. He’s been talking the talk and walking the walk since he started winning in Junior Golf. Talking confidently exudes confident playing. Is his speaking in the first-erson plural pronoun form a bit annoying? Sure. But, isn’t it that most of those who are judging the swag are actually judging the whole package: the lisp, the look, the confidence, the swing? I mean, he’s not going to be a Rory/Tiger brand, and he lacks the Ian Poulter/Bubba charisma. So, what is he? He’s a damn good player and a regular guy. And, you know what? It’s nice to see a regular guy (One with a ton of confidence in his game) go out there and win 3 times in 14 starts. Besides, he’s 23 years old. He’s got a ton of growing up to do. All that posturing, all that talk is just him trying to be a grown-up. Give him 5 years and all that grown-up talk will come more naturally. By that time, all that confidence will hopefully be backed up with a couple more wins. #TeamReed

  33. J

    Mar 10, 2014 at 12:49 am

    Conveniently left out the self made comparison to Tiger and Rory to help better solidify your position rather than reporting the entirety of the Post Round comments. Nobody has an issue with confidence, the issue stems from a rookie comparing himself to Tiger and Rory when said rookie hasn’t even teed up at a Major.

    Nice Spin and Omission to drive home your opinion.

    • Drew

      Mar 10, 2014 at 3:14 pm

      His comparisons to Tiger were regarding his records at the amateur level in both junior and collegiate golf, and were both 100% accurate. And he showed respect to the guy knowing that he’s set the bar and was one of the few who actually had a more successful amateur career. How are citing facts wrong in this situation exactly, especially when he was accurately answering the question of where his confidence exactly came from?

      • Dan K

        Mar 10, 2014 at 4:36 pm

        His amateur record is comparable to Tiger? On what level? Tiger won 6 USGA titles in a row at the junior level… Reed won 0! And while Reed was in college, Rory was teeing it up against the best in the world on tour and has 11 wins and 2 majors. Rory by the way is a whole year older than Reed.

        The other thing I don’t understand is he won 3 of his last 14 events – he doesn’t have 3 wins in only 14 events as a pro. He has 3 wins in 51 events on the PGA tour. In fact he played a full 2013 season on tour and missed 10 cuts in 26 events? So let’s see some consistency for a few years and maybe a major before we declare him a Top 5 player in the world!

        And don’t get me wrong – I like the kid and I hope he does really well in his career – but he got a bit carried away yesterday.

  34. MBA-J

    Mar 10, 2014 at 12:37 am

    I loved it! As an avid golf fan, I’m so sick and tired of Joe Pro giving media training-coined responses in press conferences. You know how it goes: “I hit the ball well all day. I made putts. I played my game out there.” Blah blah yawn turn on Matlock.

    In my humble opinion, the press corps are trying to discredit Patrick Reed’s validity as one of the best young talents in the game! They are “furniture store-style” selling Jordan Speith, Harris English, and Rory McIlroy as the only dudes on Tour under the legal age to rent a car that can play world-class golf. I’m glad that young Mr. Reed let those who were otherwise unitiated know that he was the man. Let that young man be great!

    • Rich

      Mar 10, 2014 at 4:54 pm

      Yeah but this is golf not boxing. Why does he feel the need to announce it to everyone? Does he feel that his golf is not enough to show that he is the real thing (on the golf course anyway). None of those other guys have felt the need to talk themselves up. He should let his record do the talking and be gracious. Like I said, this is not boxing where you expect this kind of behaviour.

      • Brad

        Mar 11, 2014 at 4:40 am

        I was waiting for him to announce that he was available to be an honorary starter at the Masters next month! No big deal what he said, will just put more pressure on himself in the majors / Ryder Cup and will be great to see how he responds – then we can probably better assess the comments.

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