We all know Patrick Reed is about as red-white-and-blue as it comes but he’s expressed a strong determination to become the first American-born in nearly 50 years to be crowned European Tour No. 1 ahead of teeing-up in this week’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
Reed, always the strong focus of European spectator attention at the Ryder Cup, is teeing-up for a second straight year in the Tour’s flagship event that has been pushed back one month due to continuing Covid-19 concerns.
It’s meant Reed making the tough decision in leaving behind wife, Justine and young daughter, Windsor to compete in this week’s Euro 6.1m event, but it signals clear intent from the American.
“My decision is definitely motivated by wanting to win the Race to Dubai and when you’re in the lead, being able to come over is always nice to try to stay on top,” he said
“But it was a late entry into the event, and it was mainly my team and I trying to figure out, okay, safety-wise, with everything that’s going on in the world and traveling over, making sure, one, we’re not putting people at risk when we come over, but at the same time, when I go home, not putting my family at risk when I get back to the States.
“So, it was a tough decision. It was a long decision. And it’s one of those that at the end of the day, every time we thought about it, it was — we’ve always supported the European Tour, we’ve always enjoyed coming over and playing on the European Tour, and being a lifetime member of the Tour, it was something that I had to come over and play.
“I wouldn’t have felt right not coming over and supporting the European Tour. And really at the end of the day, all I can control is what I do. And as long as I feel like I’m being responsible, being safe and social distancing and taking care of myself, whether I’m traveling, whether I’m on the road, and with knowing the protocols that the European Tour has and how locked in their bubble is, I knew I was going to be safe once I got here.”
The 30-year old Reed is currently leading the Race to Dubai by just 28 points from fellow American Collin Morikawa.
Unlike Morikawa who has never competed on European soil, Reed is no stranger to worldwide travelling despite eight career victories but then only the one success outside of the States and that being this year’s WGC – Mexico Championship.
After being runner-up to Italy’s Francesco Molinari in 2018, Reed is very determined to go one better this year, and if so, he would be the first American-born European Tour No. 1 in the near 50-year history of the Tour.
“It has always been my ambition. I mean, ever since I was little, I always wanted to be a worldwide player,” said Reed.
“I wanted to travel the world and be known as a worldwide golfer, not just stay at home and play in the States.
“That would be the easy thing to do. With the purses we play for, with the world ranking we play for and everything we have in the States, that would be the easy thing, to kind of stay home, play on the PGA Tour full-time only.
“But that’s not who I am. I see myself as a guy who travels, a guy who plays worldwide, who tries to better my game and figure out not only different cultures, different grasses, different time zones, try to become a more well-rounded golfer. And the only way I’m going to do that is by playing on the European Tour and playing around the world.
“And to have that opportunity to come over and play, it’s always been a dream of mine to win over here, also win in the States and win the Race to Dubai, win the FedExCup, win as many majors as I can, just try to collect hardware.”
Reed, like his fellow PGA Tour-based colleagues Morikawa and also Lowry, has three ‘counting’ events remaining in the European schedule to achieve that goal – this week’s BMW PGA, the November 12-15 starting Masters and then the season-ending DP World teeing-up in Dubai on 10th December.
“I’m going to play the DP World, so it’s kind of one of those things that with how the times are, I feel like the more support we can get, especially from guys from the States, the better,” he said
“That’s one reason why I always come over and play, is because I know how important it is for our games to travel. I mean, look at the guys back in the day, Mr. Nicklaus, Mr. Palmer, Mr. Watson, their games travelled. They travelled and played golf and travelled around the world to play.
“And I’ve always wanted to do that. And having this opportunity, hopefully I’m inspiring others in the United States as well as younger kids that when they start growing up, they start to travel and play more around the world, not just take the easier route and play at home.”
Well said, Patrick.
Reed will play the opening two rounds of the BMW PGA in the company of Lee Westwood and Tyrrell Hatton.