Internationals to exploit USA’s bad apple

Patrick Reed is the loose thread every member of the International team will tug at this week in the hope that the more they pull, the more team USA could unravel.

The knock 'em down sentiment from the International team started with Presidents Cup veteran Adam Scott who, fed up with losing all the time, demanded the Royal Melbourne crowd "don't cheer Tiger".

But in the aftermath of Reed's involvement in "bunker gate" in the Bahamas, and his history of disruption, the Internationals have the perfect ammunition to make the visitors feel as uncomfortable as Scott was hoping.

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Already, they haven't held back in singling out Reed's behaviour.

Cameron Smith called Reed's excuse for clearing sand behind his ball, something he did at the same event four years prior, a "a bit of bullshit".

Marc Leishman, the amiable Victorian who looms as his team's lynchpin, called Reed's behaviour "pretty ordinary".

It will be a theme this week, and with good reason.

The players know Reed won't give a lick about the crowd giving it to him, as this line after his Presidents Cup selection suggests.

"I look forward to getting those crowds riled up, that's kind of what I like to do," said Reed, branded "Captain America" for his bullish work in the red, white and blue at other team events.

 

 

But what Reed, and his team USA mates might not quite handle so well, will be the opposition players calling him out.

The target on his back isn't new. It stems from Reed's history of antagonism, his penchant for inciting opposition, and his testy relationship with teammates.

Reed thrives on playing the antihero, with the world equally as enthusiastic about willing him to fail.

He was disliked in college, and punted from one to another in mysterious circumstances. Allegations of cheating were ever-present.

His Masters win in 2018 was greeted with howls of discontent too, and then he arguably took things to the next level in the Ryder Cup later the same year.

The US team was smashed by Europe in Paris, and in his haste to point the finger at anyone other than himself, Reed called out teammate Jordan Spieth after their successful pairing at the 2017 Presidents Cup was broken up.

 

Jordan Spieth and Reed had a falling out after being smashed by Europe in 2018. Picture: Sam Greenwood/Getty
Jordan Spieth and Reed had a falling out after being smashed by Europe in 2018. Picture: Sam Greenwood/Getty

 

"The issue's obviously with Jordan not wanting to play with me," Reed told the New York Times.

But he didn't stop there, taking a pot-shot at all his teammates amid the seven-point shellacking.

"Every day, I saw 'Leave your egos at the door'. They (the Europeans) do that better than us," Reed said.

When he made Reed a captain's pick for this Presidents Cup, Tiger Woods said the 2018 Masters champion would "do anything" to win his team a point.

"So this is a person that is as fiery as they come and he's bleeding red, white, and blue and he will do anything to get points for you, and that's what we want," Woods said.

"And he's a great team guy in there because he knows that when he goes out on that golf course, he's going to give you absolutely everything he has, and that's admirable, and the guys are looking forward to embracing him and having him be a part of this team."

Reed played with Woods twice in that Ryder Cup in Paris for two losses. The captain has his back, and for all intents and purposes his teammates will too.

But bringing down "Captain America" could as big a part of an International team victory as any shot struck at Royal Melbourne this week.

 

News Corp Australia

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