FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – When the irons are flying true and the putts are rolling in, Patrick Reed isn’t short on swagger.
This is the man, after all, who styles his wardrobe after Tiger Woods and brashly made a top-5 claim that he still can’t shake more than two years later. He already has an iconic Ryder Cup moment to his credit, and he stockpiled four PGA Tour wins before turning 25.
Reed doesn’t back down from a challenge, and his confidence rarely wanes. It’s a combination of factors that has quietly helped him compile a stellar season – with one notable omission.
Reed has yet to win this year, and he has now gone more than 18 months without a victory. It’s a surprising run for a player who once reeled off three wins in a seven-month span, and it’s a gap that has coincided with peers like Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth racking up trophies by the handful.
But Reed has an enticing opportunity to end that drought this week at The Barclays, where he holds a two-shot lead over Rickie Fowler and Emiliano Grillo at the halfway point.
“I feel like I’ve been trending in the right direction,” Reed said after a second-round 68. “I feel like the game’s been solid. I just need to get it all clicking.”
For Reed, the key has been dialing up the consistency. While that philosophy has netted nine top-10 finishes this season, second only to Johnson’s total of 12, it hasn’t resulted in a tournament victory – yet.
“It just seems like these events I finish top 10, it’s either one round here or there, or it’s three or four parts of my game are working on the first day, then three of the four are working the next day,” he said. “It’s just kind of a mixture. It’s not just one thing I can pinpoint.”
The various aspects of his game appear to be in sync through two rounds at Bethpage Black, where Reed played his first 25 holes without dropping a shot. After starting the day with a share of the lead, he raced to the top of the standings with birdies on four of his first seven holes, stretching his lead to three before a bogey on No. 18.
Reed entered this week on the Ryder Cup bubble, needing a strong performance to cement an automatic spot at Hazeltine. It’s an extra element of pressure, but Reed has never shied away from some raised stakes.
He did, after all, earn his PGA Tour status one Monday qualifier at a time back in 2012, and two years ago he used his Ryder Cup debut to become an icon of patriotism on foreign soil, shushing Scottish crowds with one made putt after another.
“All you’ve got to do is light the fire a little with him,” said Spieth, who teamed with Reed at Gleneagles. “If he plays golf with some, whether it be motivation or just feeling like he’s been a little off and needs to just do that little bit extra, he always brings it.”
Rather than focus on the larger goals, Reed has opted this week to dial down to core components. Forget the standings, toss out the projections. Just play some good golf and see what it yields.
“Really I’m going into this week trying to win a golf tournament,” he said. “At the end of the day, if I go and I take care of me, and do what I need to do this week, then Ryder Cup will take care of itself.”
Bumped to the second tier of American golf recently by a handful of more prolific winners, Reed now has a chance to remind everyone that the talent and confidence are not misaligned. It’s an opportunity to break out in a big way this week on Long Island, and with another high-stakes event looming just a few weeks away, the timing couldn’t be better.
“As long as he’s building momentum and he’s bringing what we had at the last Ryder Cup,” Spieth said. “I’ll be certainly pleased with that.”