By Bernie McGuire in Abu Dhabi.
Former Masters champ Patrick Reed dispelled all suggestions that ‘tension’ will be on the menu for April’s Champions Dinner at Augusta National.
Reed will be among six LIV golfers who are past Masters champions and who were recently given the green light by the green jacket club to attend the dinner and tee-up on the Georgia golfing gem.
They include: Phil Mickelson (2004, 2006, 2010), Charl Schwartzel (2011), Bubba Watson (2012, 2014), Reed (2018), Sergio Garcia (2017) and Dustin Johnson (2020).
It was Spaniard Jon Rahm, with four top-10s in six Augusta appearances, who stirred the Augusta pot earlier this month saying: “The Masters Champions Dinner is going to be a little tense compared to how it’s been in the past”.
However, Reed will have none of that and laughed off such suggestions by the Spaniard that if past Masters winners, such as fellow Texan Jordan Spieth asked him to pass the salt or the sugar, he’ll not hesitate in obliging.
And Reed backed-up those comments from a second Texan in double Masters winning Ben Crenshaw who responded to Rahm’s remarks saying he ‘hopes’ there is no tension by pointing out: “Our job is to honour the champion Scottie Scheffler, not only for winning The Masters but for what a wonderful year he had last year – as he emerged as one of the best players in the world.”
Reed, who will be attending his fifth Augusta champions dinner, said: “The only thing I can say with regards the comment there may be tension, is to repeat what Mr. Crenshaw said about the dinner.
“Every time I have attended the Augusta dinner the formal talk of the evening is about the player who is hosting the dinner, and as Mr. Crenshaw pointed out, this year it will be Scottie.
“Well, it’s always been about the host player and that player who is the defending champion. I know when I hosted the dinner in 2019 I was so proud to be honoured and it was the same the next year when Tiger hosted, and then last year when we honoured Hideki.
“The dinner conversations amongst everyone are all about our past experiences, what we saw at Augusta that week we won, and the dinner is what it is, a dinner for all the former champions.
“Of all the fellow Masters winners I have bumped into since joining LIV, and I’m talking about those who are not LIV, they have treated me all the same without any tension whatsoever.
“That’s the big thing as whether we are LIV Golf or not, we are here doing our own thing and no matter where I am playing, and including this week here in Abu Dhabi for the first time as everyone has been so welcoming and friendly.
“So, there will be no tension whatsoever when we sit down for dinner at Augusta and if Jordan (Spieth) or Scottie (Scheffler) ask me to pass salt or the sugar, I am going to pass it to them (Laughing)”.
Reed is among nine LIV teeing-up in this week’s record-breaking $US 9m Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, with the Texan teeing-up alongside Scotland’s David Law and Welshman Jamie Donaldson for the opening two rounds.