2020 Masters Choose Your Own Adventure, Patrick Reed vs. Jon Rahm: Feeding Off the Energy


Harry Trump/Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Reed, Jon Rahm

Reed hears more heckling and keeps making birdies.

Nothing begets yelling strange or silly things during golf tournaments than other people similarly yelling strange or silly things. The first person to yell “Mashed potatoes!” after a golf swing was a member of the Pepperdine golf team (and two of his friends), who did so as a way of saying “Hi, Mom!” after Tiger Woods hit his final drive en route to winning the 2011 Chevron World Challenge. Now that phrase is commonplace, fans screaming it without even knowing why.

Reed probably wishes he’d hear a benign call about a starchy side dish right about now.

Instead, this tidal wave of screamed insults has targeted his estrangement from his parents, his burly physical stature and, mostly, his cheating allegation from last year. In an otherwise unmemorable Hero World Challenge, Reed was accused of building a lie in a waste bunker. That accusation only escalated when he failed to admit any wrongdoing and when others later implicated him in similar situations.

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The most surprising thing on this day, as you wade through the cacophony of indignity, isn’t that Reed is being treated disrespectfully. It’s that he’s being treated disrespectfully at the Masters.

There are roughly 2,000 miles between Augusta National and TPC Scottsdale, but there’s a much greater divide between this tournament and the Waste Management Phoenix Open, during which hundreds of thousands of beer-soaked fans congregate to party and scream ridiculous things at professional golfers.

It appears Reed is just the type of polarizing personality who can narrow that gap.

Less surprisingly than the yelling itself is how Reed is dealing with it. He’s offered a few sheepish shushes at the bequest of some fans throughout the round, but for the most part, he remains locked in. The more they yell, the better he plays.

On the final hole, he makes a routine par, wrapping up a five-birdie, one-bogey round of 68 that is enough to give him the title. There is some sentiment amongst the crowd that he will fire back at them upon winning, letting out his frustrations for the verbal abuse.

Instead, he goes the other way with it.

Reed removes his cap and waves it to the crowd. He then bows toward them, four times, turning 90 degrees after each one. And just to add the cherry on top, putter still in hand, he stands in the middle of the 18th green and applauds in the gallery’s direction, as if he couldn’t have done any of this without everyone else’s assistance.

And maybe that’s true. Maybe he needed those catcalls in order to win this tournament. Whatever the case, his reaction works. Those fans who jeered him all day witness those gestures, tongue-in-cheek as they might have been, and for the first time all day, they lustily cheer him instead.

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