PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – With a majestic show of force over his right knee next to the 18th green Friday night, Patrick Reed authored one of the visual highlights of the 119th U.S. Open.
Reed’s heated club snap gained plenty of online traction in the hours after his second round at Pebble Beach, where a series of miscues from short range caused the former Masters champ’s blood to boil. He didn’t speak to reporters after the emotional close to his second round, but given a few hours to cool off he spoke about the incident following a 1-over 72 in Round 3 that left him at 3 over for the week.
In Reed’s mind, the club snap was cathartic – and undeserving of further scrutiny.
“To me, it’s no big deal,” Reed said. “It was comical after watching it afterwards. But it wasn’t comical having to go through hitting poor wedge shot after poor wedge shot, especially when I pride myself on my short game and being able to get up and down.”
Reed’s issues on the 18th hole Friday began when his 6-iron attempt to extract his ball from the rough barely went 100 yards. From there he found a greenside bunker, bladed it over the green, missed the green again coming back and flubbed another chip from the thick grass.
It was at that point that his 61-degree lob wedge met its untimely demise.
“Oh yeah, it deserved it. There’s a reason why I call it '61 and done,' and that’s why it’s done,” Reed said. “We always call it '61 and done' because it usually gets me out of jail all the time. It kept me in jail on that one.”
Reed used his 57-degree sand wedge for his sixth shot, and eventually rolled in a short putt to make the cut on the number. While social media lit up with slow-motion video of his visceral outburst, he believes it pales in comparison to some other on-course sins.
“I mean, at the end of the day, I got my anger out. I didn’t do anything to the golf course, I didn’t say any obscenities or anything like that. It was a split-second and I moved on,” Reed said. “You have Sergio (Garcia) with what he did on the greens (in Saudi Arabia). I’ve seen multiple guys tear up golf courses, slam clubs. I mean, Rory (McIlroy) threw his club in the water on 8 at Doral (in 2015). You had Lucas Bjerregaard send his driver in the water here. It happens.
“The thing is, things like that probably shouldn’t happen, but at the end of the day as long as you respect the golf course, as long as you’re not doing anything that is damaging the golf course or damaging the players that you’re playing with, I’d rather let it out than keep it in.”
Reed couldn’t recall the last time he broke a club in anger on the golf course, though he did note that he had three club shafts break on commercial flights over the last year. He regularly travels with three lob wedges in case one gets damaged during play, and he put one of those backups into his bag for the third round – albeit for a far different reason.
“To basically miss the green from 20 yards and then basically advance the ball 3 inches from 6 feet off the green, it’s not normally how my short game is,” Reed said. “But that’s what a U.S. Open, and rough like this, will do to you.”