Patrick Reed celebrated receiving a Presidents Cup wild card from United States captain Tiger Woods in the perfect fashion in the Turkish Airlines Open.
Reed fired an eagle and five birdies in a flawless second round of 65 at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal in Antalya to lie four shots off the lead held on 12 under par by Austria’s Matthias Schwab.
Schwab, whose 67 was his 29th sub-par score in his last 33 rounds, led by one from Danny Willett, Ross Fisher, Alex Noren and Thomas Detry, with defending champion Justin Rose and Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre among the group on 10 under.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) November 8, 2019
While Reed’s selection was hard to argue against given his recent form, it will still raise eyebrows among those who remember his outburst following the Ryder Cup in Paris last year.
Following a heavy defeat at Le Golf National, Reed admitted egos were a problem for the American team as he blamed Jordan Spieth for the end of their successful partnership and claimed it was “not smart” of US captain Jim Furyk to leave him out of two sessions.
Reed and Spieth had won four and halved two of their seven matches together at Gleneagles and Hazeltine, but in Paris Reed was twice paired with Woods – losing both times – and Spieth played four matches with Justin Thomas.
That was the subject of the final question of the American team’s press conference on Sunday evening, with Spieth answering diplomatically: “We were totally involved in every decision that was made. Jim allowed it to be a player-friendly environment.”
However, in an interview conducted an hour later with the New York Times, Reed said at that point he was looking at Spieth “like I was about to light the room up like Phil in ’14,” a reference to Phil Mickelson’s searing criticism of captain Tom Watson – sat just a few feet away – following the loss at Gleneagles.
Asked in Antalya if the American players had moved on from Paris, Reed said: “I feel like our guys are right where we need to be. Now let’s go out and get rid of all the noise, all the distractions and go out and do our job.
“It was awesome news last night hearing from captain Woods that I was able to get a spot on the team. Wearing the red, white and blue means so much to me and the job now is to win as many points as possible.
“I look forward to getting over there and playing and getting those crowds kind of riled up – it’s what I like to do. I think it will be fun.”
Reed admitted he knew in advance of the official announcement that he had been selected, but received a “friendly reminder” from Woods that it would come out at 3am in Turkey and to “make sure your phone’s not going to be on loud or it’s going to wake you up all night”.
The former Masters champion added: “It’s awesome. When a guy like Tiger, arguably the best player ever to live on this planet, calls your name and says I believe in you, I want you on the team, it means a lot.
“It means you have something that helps the team out and that’s the biggest thing. Now it’s to go out and show him that was the right decision to pick you and earn some points for him.”
— Presidents Cup (@PresidentsCup) November 8, 2019
Reed was quick to praise playing partner MacIntyre after the left-hander – who leads the race to become rookie of the year – came home in 29 for a 63, the lowest score of the week so far.
“He played really well,” Reed said. “It was awesome to see. “Yesterday (Thursday) was kind of a struggle for both of us and to see him kind of flip the switch today was special. He hits it a long way. He hits it really straight and when you can do that, it makes the golf course a lot easier.”
A second consecutive 67 left Rose in contention for a hat-trick of wins in the event and he said: “The dream is alive, no doubt.”