2020 Masters Choose Your Own Adventure, Patrick Reed vs. Jon Rahm: Struggling
Harry Trump/Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Reed, Jon Rahm
Reed hits the lip and barely gets out of the bunker.
It takes a seasoned golf tournament spectator to differentiate between the gallery sounds of “AWWWWW!” and “OHHHHH!”
The first one is reserved for a beloved player. This fan favorite has a big birdie putt and just misses it on the low side. Ready to explode in unison, the crowds offers their most disappointed reaction: “AWWWWW!” The second one is much less common and more of a hopeful groan. It usually happens when a contender leaves the door open toward the end of a tournament, as if to say, Hmm, maybe this one isn’t quite over yet!
As Reed takes a mighty lash at his brutal bunker lie, you watch as his ball just barely catches the top of the lip, then bounces and rolls maybe 20 yards ahead. The sound is less discouragement than exuberance, the kind of noise you might make after hitting the first three numbers of a Pick 6 lottery ticket.
The ensuing sounds are less surprising.
“You should’ve fixed your lie!”
“Can’t cheat when the cameras are watching you!”
“Who’s your caddie gonna punch this time?”
It was remarkable. Even though this is your first time attending the Masters, you are well aware that this isn’t standard, that the practice of outwardly goading professional golfers at this tournament isn’t a usual occurrence.
Perhaps more remarkable, though, is that Reed appears flustered. This is the very situation he’s dealt with so well in recent months. Harness in the good energy, block out the bad, to steal a line from Happy Gilmore. Harness, energy, block, bad. That might sound like a silly line from Kevin Nealon’s character, but it’s probably not much different from what Reed’s mental guru advocates on a regular basis.
Failing to block out the bad quickly becomes a recurring theme for Reed during the final round.
He can only manage a par on the par-5 second hole, then bogeys the third and fourth back-to-back, before closing with five straight pars for a front-nine 39.
If there’s a silver lining for the guy now in a share of 13th place, it’s that his poor performance has basically rendered any heckling moot. With Rahm similarly stumbling on the front-nine, you wonder whether you should leave this pairing or wait it out and see if they produce any fireworks.