After the 2019 PGA Championship, 2018 Masters Champion Patrick Reed felt he was burnt out and golf was no fun anymore.
We all know that winning doesn’t get any easier just because you win one of the four annual major championships. Just ask Henrik Stenson. He came out on top at the 2016 Open Championship but has had only one win since, and it wasn’t a major championship. Jimmy Walker won the 2016 PGA Championship and to date, that is his last major victory. After the recent PGA Championship in Bethpage, Reed thought he needed a break. He and his wife, Justine, rented a place in the Hamptons and didn’t touch a club for 10 days.
Jordan Spieth also seems to be hitting a low spot similar to what Reed has been experiencing. Spieth has won three Majors championships, but hasn’t been in the winner’s circle since the 2017 Open Championship. As we enter the new season, which starts in less than a month, three men will have a chance to become only the sixth player to win all four of golf’s majors. Rory McIlroy still needs to win the Masters, Phil Mickelson lacks the U.S. Open, and Spieth the PGA Championship.
Last week, in the first of three FedExCup playoff events, 125 players got to tee it up at Liberty National. Only the Top 70 have moved onto the second event, the BMW Championship in the Chicago area, that starts this week. The stakes have increased, and are very high, as only the Top 30 get to reach for the big $15 million payday at the Tour Championship the following week. It is played annually at East Lake just outside Atlanta. Strange as it may sound to you, because that’s how it sounds to me, the Tour Championship will start a new format this year: it’s going to be a handicap event. Not the handicap events that you and I are used to, though. In this one, the better player will get strokes rather than give strokes. Crazy? I couldn’t agree more.
Let’s get back to last week when Reed played and putted like the Masters Champion he is. This Northern Trust win did not come easy for Reed, as some big names applied as much pressure as they could, notably McIlroy and Spieth. Both Spieth and McIlroy eventually finished four back, with Adam Scott three back and superstar-in-the-making Jon Rahm just two off the pace.
This win was huge for Reed because it pretty much guaranteed that Reed will be playing for Captain Tiger in the upcoming Presidents Cup later this year in Melbourne, Australia. By the way, I love Melbourne, which has some of the finest golf courses in the world. Next week, I will try to explain the handicaps when we get to Atlanta.
After spending 10 days in the Hamptons clearing his head — oh, by the way, is there any place better in the world to do so? Personally, I don’t think so — it was time for Reed to relocate the game that was great enough for him to earn that coveted Green Jacket.
This is where legendary East Ender Jimmy Dunne comes into the picture. Dunne invited Reed to play a round of golf at National Golf Links. Reed promptly drove the green on number one, then, from six feet, found the bottom of the cup for an eagle two. Reed is going to be a tough guy to beat in the last two playoff events. I guess the lay-off was a success and Jimmy Dunne helped Patrick Reed get it done.