Patrick Reed has long been known as Captain America for his heroics at the Ryder Cup matches, but a better name for him would be The Grinder. His display of sheer will power coupled with short game wizardry was on ample display this past weekend as he led the way for three rounds during The Race to Dubai.
For those of you not up to speed on the ins and outs of golf on the European Tour here’s a briefer course. The Race to Dubai is the European Tour’s version of the FedEx Cup and large dollars are at stake. In fact, if Reed wins this week, it means an extra $7 million in the bank, give or take a few hundred thousand.
Patrick Reed is the quintessential American workhorse, playing nearly every other week either in America or in Europe. He is the first American to earn the prestigious Order of Merit on the European Tour and is single-handedly making America a known presence for European golf.
Over the last year Reed’s presence has been felt not only on the European tour but also in the majors in America, where he nearly won the U.S. Open, placed 10th at the Masters and 13th at the PGA Championship. He is hovering around the top 10 spot in World Golf Ranking.
Why he loves golf in Europe is not clear to me. He was raised in Texas and is American through and through, hence the nickname “Captain America.”
He has a steely backbone and tremendous focus and unlike most of his contemporaries he tends to get better under pressure, not worse. This tenacity and fortitude is reminiscent of Nicklaus in his prime and more recently Tiger Woods. So what is the secret sauce that Reed’s tapped into?
Well, I suspect the answer is simple. He works and works and works on his game. While many around him party, play less frequently and rest up, Reed is the guy who always shows up ready to play. He has consistently gotten the short end of the popularity stick with regards to media coverage. He is not been known as a media darling like Jordan Spieth or Ricky Fowler, but Reed is turning out to be the guy who wins more money, has more titles and is slowly earning the respect not only of fans but of the media itself and that is largely because he deserves it.
Reed has the grinding work ethic of guys like Hideki Matsuyama of Japan or 2020 Rookie of the Year Sungjae Im of South Korea. This similarity may be why Patrick Reed has recently begun a collaboration with “grindworks,” Japan’s premier golf brand which employs the noted design gurus Kiyonari Niimi, Kenji Kobayashi and Tario Cham. It’s fitting that this ultimate grinder is affiliated with a brand called “grindworks.”
Reeds’ focus is so good that it seems to matter not at all if he plays in front of fans or not. Despite the variety of distractions brought on by COVID and the lack of fans in 2020, Reed manages to climb to No. 8 in the Official World Golf Rankings.
This week Reed finished third at the DP World Tour Championship, which is the culmination of the Race to Dubai, making him the most visible of Americans in Europe. Week after week, month after month, and year after year Mr. Reed is the face of American golf globally.
In some way he is similar to the little man from South Africa, Gary Player, the black knight, who tirelessly trotted around the globe and led the way for Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen and Brandon Grace. It’s notable that all those South Africans have the same laconic demeanor so useful for golfers.
Patrick Reed, aka Captain America, The Grinder, will now, thanks to all his efforts and successes, lead the way for a new wave of young American talent to travel overseas to Europe and Dubai to bring back money, fame and big wins. Let’s just hope that Patrick Reed will finally get the credit he so richly deserves for pioneering all of this.