Justin Leonard is a major champion and a veteran of three U.S. Ryder Cup teams, but even he was surprised by the fallout surrounding Patrick Reed's comments following the decisive American loss in Paris.
Speaking on the latest episode of the Golf Channel podcast, Leonard broke down the various ways things went wrong for Jim Furyk's U.S. side, from the lack of course knowledge to the underperforming nature of some of the picks. But the focus eventually landed on Reed, whose divisive comments about how things transpired in Paris left an impact.
"I don't remember anybody really burning bridges the way Patrick Reed has, the night after and the next day after the Ryder Cup," Leonard said. "It's a first for me."
Reed entered last week with a 6-1-2 career Ryder Cup record, and was expected to be a key contributor for Furyk. Instead he went 1-2, losing a pair of fourball matches alongside Tiger Woods and winning in singles after the fate of the Cup was already decided.
Leonard pointed out that at age 28 and with the green jacket hanging in his closet, Reed is expected to be a fixture on U.S. Ryder Cup teams for years to come. But he believes Reed has "put himself in a very uncomfortable place" the next time he makes a Ryder Cup roster, and that he might want to make sure he qualifies for the 2020 team at Whistling Straits on merit.
"He's got a lot of work to do," Leonard said. "I mean, if he's sitting on the fence of making a team, I don't see how you pick him to be on your team at this stage unless he really does a lot of work the next couple years, between now and Whistling Straits, to mend some of those relationships, and ask for forgiveness and be contrite and do all the right things."
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