Patrick, Rickie and the Ryder Cup

Each week we ask our panel of writers, PGA members and golf industry experts to weigh in with their views on the hot topics of the day.

Patrick Reed won his fifth PGA Tour title this past weekend at The Barclays and he’s just 26. Five wins is a pretty good career for a lot of players yet Reed seems to get overlooked a lot when it comes to discussions about the top young players on Tour. Should he get more attention or do his stats need a Major boost to elevate him into the conversation?

Jim Deeks, Fairways Magazine (@jimdeeks): There’s something quite unlikeable about Patrick Reed, and that’s no doubt affecting the reputation he should be earning.  But the second part of your question is really the answer… you don’t really start getting respect until you’ve won a major.  I think Jimmy Walker will start receiving more credit and respect now that he’s won his first.  Ditto for Reed if and when it happens.

TJ Rule, Golf Away Tours (@GolfAwayTJ): He isn’t overlooked by himself, just ask him.  Top 5 in the world apparently.  I find Reed to be one of the least likeable guys on tour, arrogant and obnoxious.  Perhaps that’s why he doesn’t get the respect he deserves. Surely he’s a good player, and should be in the conversation as one of the best players yet to win a major, but I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed when I heard he had won the tourney on Sunday, which I didn’t get a chance to watch.

Craig Loughry, Golf Ontario (@craigloughry): There are better younger players. I think he’s getting exactly the attention he warrants. Self proclaiming you’re top 5 in the world before your results even remotely showed anything of the sort probably didn’t do him any favours with anyone either. I’m all for being confident, but let your clubs do the talking, PLEASE. He’s never reached it, but is getting close to that stated ability, although I don’t see him getting there.

Peter Mumford, Fairways Magazine (@FairwaysMag): Patrick Reed reminds me of a younger version of Raymond Floyd – pretty cocky, a little too outspoken sometimes and sort of a gunslinger swagger – just daring you to take him on. Both Floyd then and Reed now have plenty of game though. With five wins by age 26, Reed is one of the best young players in the world, major or not. The problem is he’s playing in an era where there are lots of very successful young guys who do have majors and they’re getting the accolades. I think he’ll win majors and we’ll deservedly hear lots more about Patrick Reed in the future.

Frank Mastroianni, Freelance Writer: I can’t say I ever overlook Patrick Reed and those that do only do so because of his personality. Everyone wants to cheer for America’s sweetheart Jordan aka “cry baby” Spieth and the like and when someone like Reed comes along who publicly shows confidence in himself and uses the same profanity 99% of the people reading this use day-to-day on the golf course they want to frown upon him and “overlook” his talent. Patrick Reed is as good as any of the other “young guns” on the PGA TOUR.

Dave Kaplan, Freelance Writer (@davykap): He is definitely one of the top young guns on tour, but he is not very well liked and I think that hurts the amount of attention that he receives.  That being said, I kind of like that he is one of the black sheep on Tour because it makes everything that he does more interesting, both on and off of the golf course.  A major for Reed, at some point over the next couple years, would definitely cement his status as one of the sport’s elite players under 30.

Rickie Fowler blew the 54-hole lead at Bethpage Black and played his way off the American Ryder Cup team. He’ll need a captain’s pick from Davis Love to play at Hazeltine. Fowler gets a lot of media attention but he only has 3 career wins and his Ryder Cup record is 0-3-5. Should Love make him a captain’s pick?

Mastroianni: All day today I’ve heard everyone use the phrase “playing his way off the American Ryder Cup team” for Rickie Fowler. But I can’t even comprehend that statement. You can only play yourself on, not off. Ryder Cup positioning wasn’t confirmed until yesterday, and as of yesterday, Rickie Fowler didn’t secure a spot. Should Rickie get a captain’s pick? Yup. And if he doesn’t that’s just one example (of many) why the America squad struggles to beat the Euro’s.

Kaplan: Probably not … but Fowler is going to get picked because, unlike Reed, he is extremely popular amongst his colleagues and would provide a morale/energy boost for his teammates.  Expect him to be on the squad at Hazeltine, even though he plummeted in the Ryder Cup standings with that Sunday performance last week.

Rule: Tough to pick a guy who hasn’t shown the ability to win when in position, and has a terrible Ryder Cup record.  I think he’s liked by his teammates, which may give him a chance, but I think he’s a longshot at this point.  Then again, looking at the list of players that DL3 can choose from, there aren’t many locks, so we’ll have to wait and see.

Loughry: Rickie, is still a top player but I wouldn’t pick him if I were DL3. I know, I know, it’s hard to leave him off. I would take Furyk, even though Hazeltine is a bomber’s delight, He will grind anyone to the ground and has found some fine form of late. He also brings a veteran presence that will be helpful. And his putter would come in handy for the Foursomes matches. But Fowler is a pal of Mickelson’s, so he just may get in.

Deeks: This’ll be a tough call for Captain Love… or, as he’s stated, the rest of the team who will do the choosing of the Picks.  My feeling has always been that the selection should always follow the Ryder points order of merit, and Fowler’s still in the top 12… unless there’s some truly compelling factor that favours an outsider (like a really good player coming back from injury, and proving that he’s competition-worthy just before the event.)  But sponsors like glamour, and Rickie is all glamour… and if he was picked, and played well, sponsors and the public would like a feel-good story, too.

Mumford: Rickie is exactly the opposite of Patrick Reed – he gets tons of media attention and his stats don’t warrant it. He’s very popular, doesn’t say much, goes to Bible study and loves his Mom – but struggles to get it done when the crunch comes. That Ryder Cup record should be all the evidence Davis Love needs to leave Rickie at home but he won’t. And he’ll probably have the worst record among American captains ever. Thanks so much for that gold plated Ryder Cup Task Force!

We’re a month away from the Ryder Cup but odds makers have set the U.S. squad as heavy favourites. Is this some sort of teaser to entice lots of wagering on the Americans or should they really be considered the team to beat?

Deeks: Personally, I’d say the US-Euro competition strength is about as even as it’s been in a long time, so I’m not sure why the US are heavy favourites.  Last time I looked, two Euros and two Americans had won this year’s majors, and a Euro won the Olympics, beating another Euro.  On the Euro side, four names won’t mean much to US viewers: Andy Sullivan, Thomas Pieters, Chris Wood and Matthew Fitzpatrick, but that doesn’t mean they won’t play well… as for the others, all are very strong, including Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood, of late.  We’ll see who the US team picks as its final members, but I think this will be a very close competition by dusk on Sunday night, October 2.

Mumford: Heavy favourite is a bit of a stretch. Odds makers seem to put a lot of weight behind name recognition and the U.S. always has better known players. They’re often higher in the world rankings and very strong at the top of the order. Other than the emergence of Jordan Spieth though, there isn’t a lot to separate this U.S. Ryder Cup team from the one that lost at Gleneagles in 2014. Same captain too.

Mastroianni: Lay the USA and despite whatever may happen this year you’ll make a handy profit in the long run. In the last 10 Ryder Cups the Euros have taken home the silverware 7 times because they’ve figured out the winning formula. The American’s are a long ways off (even if they win one or two every once in a while going forward).

Kaplan: With McIlroy stuck in a free-fall and King Henrik all of a sudden sidelined with a knee injury, it seems like the Americans are now an overwhelming favourite.  Plus, this Euro roster is terrible.  Here are the players currently sitting between 4th and 10th in the Euro Points List, as of this morning: 4) Chris Wood 5) Andy Sullivan 6) Matthew Fitzpatrick 7) Rafa Cabrera Bello 8) Soren Kjeldsen 9) Thomas Pieters 10) Tyrrell Hatton. Yikes! That is not a very good team.

Loughry: The odds makers must be American. Team Europe is much deeper and even though they aren’t on home soil, I see this tipping their way. Queue the ole, ole, ole, ole’s….sadly.

Rule: Aren’t they always heavy favourites?  And for good reason I suppose.  Their combined world rankings are always way higher than the Euros, and playing at home gives them that added advantage.  But I wouldn’t be putting tons of cash on a team that has typically underachieved when it comes to crunch time.  Go Euros!!

The Round Table
The Round Table is a panel of golf writers, PGA members and industry experts.

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