Teamwork leads to success
August 28, 2016
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
- Patrick Reed and Kessler Karain took a family relationship and turned it into a formidable golfer/caddie duo. (Kevin Cox/Getty Images)
Patrick Reed could feel the frustration kicking in again early during Sunday’s final round at The Barclays.
Those lip-outs for birdie on the first two holes. The three-putt bogey at No. 3. A 9-footer that could easily have been an eagle instead of a tap-in birdie at the fourth.
Seems like Reed could point to a stretch of what-ifs like that in almost every tournament he’d played this year. And that’s why he was still looking for his first win in 20 months on this hot, steamy afternoon at Bethpage Black.
So even with birdies on the fifth hole and the seventh hole that pulled him into a tie for the lead with Rickie Fowler, Reed couldn’t contain his frustration any longer.
“I'm sitting there going, we should be 6-under par at this point and we're sitting here at 2,” Reed recalled.
That’s when Reed’s caddy, his brother-in-law, Kessler Karain, decided it was time for some tough love.
“He goes, ‘I don't care.’ He goes, that's behind us.’ He's like, "Let's just keep hitting some good golf shots,’” Reed recalled.
And that’s exactly what Reed did.
His reward? The fifth victory of Reed’s career, a win that catapulted him into first place in the FedExCup and solidified his spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team.
“I feel great,” Reed said. “Any time you can come from behind on Sunday to win a golf tournament, means you must be doing something right.”
Yes, he had a couple of loose shots down the stretch. This was Bethpage Black, which has hosted two U.S. Opens, after all. The firm, fast, increasingly bumpy greens were getting that tell-tale sheen to them as the pressure mounted.
By then, though, Reed’s lead was a relatively comfortable three strokes. And he followed that bogey at the 16th hole with a confidence builder of a 9-footer for par at the next.
“I don’t care what you see on this,” Karain told his boss. “Just make it. Put it in the hole.”
Patrick Reed interview after win at The Barclays
Reed’s two-stroke lead proved critical when his drive at the 18th buried in the lip of the fairway bunker. But he got his second shot in the fairway, third on the green and two-putted from 18 feet for bogey and the win.
“To build yourself a lead to come down the last couple was huge,” Reed said. “Especially around a place like this because those last holes are just so difficult.”
So was ending his 20-month victory drought, which in turn, extended to Reed’s four-year streak with a PGA TOUR win.
He had come to Bethpage with nine top-10s this year, including runner-up finishes in his title defense at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, as well as at the Valero Texas Open. He’d lost to Jordan Spieth in a playoff at the Valspar Championship last year, too.
So Reed and his team -- which includes not only his coaches and Karain but also his wife and closest confidante, Justine -- tried to figure out how to get him back into the winner’s circle.
It all came down to one word: Patience.
“Sit back,” Reed said, almost like he was reciting a mantra. “This is your game plan. Just go with it. It will work.”
Reed admits that it’s sometimes easier said than done. There were even some times on Sunday when he threatened to deviate from the plan that had worked so well for the first 54 holes.
He’d held the lead after a first-round 66. Ditto for the 68 that followed. And even though Fowler managed to pull ahead by one after the third round, Reed knew his 71 hadn’t left him too far in arrears.
“It wasn't like I had to go out and shoot 62 like I have had to do in other events,” Reed explained. “So with having my poor round be closer to the lead, it eased my nerves a lot, especially coming on to the first nine, because I knew I was playing really well, and I already had my bad round out of the way, so I can go ahead and free it up and play some good golf.”
As long as he stuck to the plan. That’s where Karain came in.
“I told him at the start of the day, "I don't care what's going on, do not allow me to go away from this,” Reed said. "Every time I tried to, he's like, ‘No. … This is what we're going to do. This is our game plan.’"
“Just by sticking with it, it definitely paid off.”
Patrick Reed wins The Barclays