10 things you should know about Patrick Reed
Kessler Karain, Reed’s caddie and brother-in-law, gives us the lowdown on the 7-time PGA TOUR winner
October 29, 2019
By Helen Ross , PGATOUR.COM
- Patrick Reed has won six times with Kessler Karain on his bag. (Getty Images)
Kessler Karain was working in medical device sales when he got the call. His brother-in-law Patrick Reed wanted him to quit his job and come work for him as a caddie.
To say Karain was all-in might have been an understatement.
“On my desk was all my work basically; it was like, all right, forget this,” Karain recalls. “Typed up my two-week notice, handed it to my boss. He didn’t know exactly what was going on. I’m pretty sure he thought I was going to go to some competitor at first.”
Karain told him, no, he was going to go caddie. At a country club, his boss asked. No, on the PGA TOUR – for a guy who had just won his first PGA TOUR event a few months earlier.
“He was pretty happy for me,” Karain says. “He was, like, get out of here.”
Karain had known Reed was in the market for a caddie. After all, his sister Justine, who had been carrying her husband’s bag, was pregnant with the couple’s first child. But he figured Reed would go with an established TOUR caddie.
“I wasn't sure what to think except that I knew I probably didn't have enough experience to work for a player of his caliber,” Karain says. “So, I just kind of was like as long as he knew what he was getting into and he was willing to be patient with me, I would be more than happy to do it.
“Also, I thought it'd probably be a temporary thing. So, I thought at the time that, what, 24 years old at the time, what's the worst that could happen? Travel the country a little bit, see it, make some money doing it and be around golf courses all day.
“So, it was a no-brainer, like totally go for it.”
Six years later, Karain is still on the bag.
Reed says the decision to hire his brother-in-law was something of a no-brainer, as well. Turns out, Justine actually was the one who first suggested he consider Karain for the job.
“And when I sat there and I thought about it, I was like, that's actually a great idea because he has the same exact kind of demeanor as Justine,” Reed says. “He has same work ethic. I mean he is an athlete and he's a competitor, and he doesn't get high, doesn't get low; he's just kind of really even-keeled.
“It's something that I felt like would really help me and also be a transition that would've been very easy and a smooth transition. So, we brought him in.”
In the months before the new team headed to play in the 2014 Hyundai Tournament of Champions, Reed and his wife helped Karain get comfortable with the inside-the-ropes stuff.
Justine talked to him about nuances she’d learned by working so closely with her husband, as well as course management. Reed set his own expectations from a nuts-and-bolts standpoint, and together they have figured out the intangibles – like how to handle things when he’s playing too aggressively.
“And from that point Kessler just kind of ran with it,” Reed says. “It's been awesome having him on the bag and hopefully, we’ll continue to do what we've been doing and have chance to win some more golf tournaments.”
Karain says his biggest concern as he learned the ropes was holding Reed back from realizing his potential. But the two have worked well together, winning six times, including the 2018 Masters, and playing in two Presidents Cups, three Ryder Cups and the 2016 Summer Olympics.
The U.S. victory at Hazeltine in 2016 where Reed went 3-0-1 was a “big moment” for Karain because it was such a high-pressure situation, he says. He felt like he definitely earned his “stripes” there and gained a lot of confidence.
“It's a different crowd,” Karain says with a smile. “… You're walking and there's people on the left and right at you screaming as loud as they possibly can and that, you know, like juggles your brain a little bit. So yeah, that was mentally draining and physically draining.”
As exciting as the Ryder Cup was, Karain says sharing that 2018 Masters win with Reed has probably been the highlight – so far.
“The Masters is definitely something that I still don't believe even,” he says. “I felt like it was still a dream. So honestly, between that and Sunday at Hazeltine are pretty much my two. Like it doesn't get much better than those two. …
“I feel like it's almost sacrilegious to say like anything over the Masters, which is probably the truth. And I would say, yeah, I think that has to take No. 1. But Hazeltine Sunday was a really close second.”
Karain isn’t the only caddie working for a family member on TOUR. Dustin Johnson and his brother, Austin, also have a long-term partnership, and there have been others, as well. He thinks he and Reed work well together because they understood each other’s personalities before the pro hired him.
“And I know at the end of the day he's a great player to work for just because there's no, like, give up in him,” Karian says. “… I respect his grind a ton and even though some days you get out here and you're like, geez, this is a long day. I know why we do it. And I think having a good relationship beforehand definitely helped with our success out here together.”
Few people know a PGA TOUR pro as well as their caddie. So here are 10 things Karain thinks you might not know about Reed.
- Patrick is extremely superstitious, whether it’s how many balls he starts with in his bag – always 12 – or which socks he wears on which day.
- He and I both like to go to kids’ movies like “The Grinch” or “Aladdin” or “Lion King” or “Incredibles 2.” Luckily, he has a 5-year-old daughter, Windsor Wells, so we have an excuse to go!
- Patrick always starts with six tees in his pocket. If he uses all of them during a round, he grabs six more – even if he just has one hole to play.
- His lucky ball marker is a silver quarter.
- Patrick loves to grill out. He’s great at cooking steaks.
- He’s a sports geek. Baseball, football, hockey – you name it. And he’s a really big Notre Dame fan.
- He’s a huge watch fanatic and has a cool collection. Hublot is one of his sponsors.
- Patrick is definitely a workaholic. On any given week when he goes home, he might take two days off. So, you do the math – he works more throughout the year than he actually takes off.
- We both like a good steak. His favorite is a bone-in ribeye – all day, all day -- whereas mine would be a filet that I cook.
- He really likes the Shrimp Alexander appetizer at Morton’s Steakhouse. So much so, in fact, that he’s figured out the recipe so he can cook it whenever he wants. It’s really good, too.