The Players: Patrick Reed more wary of 'heat' from caddie than fans
"On the 17th, if I hit in the water once, I won't hear the end of it until next year!"
By Keith Jackson at TPC Sawgrass
Last Updated: 11/03/20 5:37pm
Patrick Reed insisted he was more concerned about coming under fire from his caddie than the fans at this week's Players Championship.
Reed has faced widespread criticism from golf analysts, and some of his fellow professionals, since his notorious antics in a fairway bunker at the Hero World Challenge in December, when he incurred a two-shot penalty for improving his lie in the sand.
Many felt his actions were intentional and the former Masters champion was accused of outright cheating, most recently by Ryder Cup team-mate Brooks Koepka, although he stifled his critics when he "blocked out the noise" to win the WGC-Mexico Championship last month.
The world No 8 declared he was not bothered in the slightest about heckling from the spectators, which could intensify around the iconic par-three 17th at TPC Sawgrass, but he conceded he was under more pressure to hit the island green after his caddie, Kessler Karain, was successful with his tee shot in the eve-of-tournament caddie competition.
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"I think the PGA Tour has done a great job on the security and the fans," said Reed. "I feel like, as a whole, the fans have been pretty good. You're always going to get a couple of people here and there that are going to say something. That's normal, any sport you play.
"For me when I get behind the ropes and I get inside those ropes it's I have a job to do and that's go out and play good golf and to have a chance to win on Sundays and to provide for my family and to go out and represent myself the best way I can, and I feel like I've been doing that.
"For me the biggest thing on 17, it was today. Kessler, it's the first time he's actually hit the green. Normally he hits it in the water, so that means I cannot hit it in the water the next four days because if I do, if I hit in the water once, I won't hear the end of it until next year!"
Reed also revealed he had not crossed paths with Koepka since the former world No 1 gave his blunt assessment of Reed's bunker controversy in the Bahamas in a radio interview last month, in which he accused his fellow American of "building sandcastles".
"Last week he played in the same event and I don't think I saw him once last week," said Reed, who insisted his victory in Mexico helped restore his reputation.
"Well, winning always helps everything," he added. "But really at the end of the day the noise goes away once you all decide it goes away. I feel like the players and all of us have moved on, but at the end of the day all we can do is go out and continue playing good golf and doing what we're supposed to do."