THE PRESIDENTS CUP
Presidents Cup Insider: The Patricks could offer a boost to Team USA in Australia
November 19, 2019
By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
- Patrick Reed and Patrick Cantlay have paired up three times at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. (Marianna Massey/Getty Images)
Two years ago, Patrick Cantlay was just starting his comeback from a career-threatening back injury. The PGA TOUR’s first team event in decades was fast approaching.
“I wasn’t sure if anybody would really want to play with me. I hadn’t played very many tournaments in three years,” said Cantlay, who played just six TOUR events from 2014-16.
He decided to phone a friend from his amateur days. Cantlay was a high-schooler when he played a practice round with Patrick Reed at one of the country’s top amateur events, the Western Amateur. Now Cantlay wanted to team with him at TPC Louisiana.
Reed accepted, and the partnership has lasted through all three team editions of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Cantlay and Reed are even the rare team that coordinates outfits.
The partnership could make its way to Australia next month. With Jordan Spieth not on this year’s roster and all 11 players clamoring to team with Tiger Woods, it could make sense for the Patricks to pair at the Presidents Cup.
Cantlay and Reed, two iconoclasts who are known to keep to themselves, are kindred spirits. Reed stays firmly ensconced in the tight circle known as Team Reed, while the quiet Cantlay is an old soul who can speak more easily about classic rock than college football.
“We’ve always enjoyed each other’s company and enjoyed each other’s competitiveness,” Reed said. “We are both pretty intense and like team competitions.”
They finished T14 in the 2017 Zurich and improved to T7 the following year. They missed the cut this year.
TPC Louisiana is a much different test than Royal Melbourne, though. The Alister Mackenzie design in Australia promises to play firm and fast. That plays into the hands of Reed and Cantlay.
Cantlay, winner of this year’s Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, has long expressed his preference for classic venues, especially those with fast, sloping greens that require players to calculate the perfect combination of speed and line.
“I feel like the golf courses, as far as I'm concerned, the rough can't be long enough, the fairways can't be narrow enough, the greens can't be fast enough. I love golf like that,” Cantlay said after his win at Muirfield Village.
Reed, of course, already has one win at a Mackenzie masterpiece.
Their games ostensibly fit well together, with Cantlay known for his strong ball-striking and Reed’s short game being his strong suit. Cantlay said the stats didn’t influence his decision to pair with Reed, though.
“You just want to play with the best player that you can,” he said. “If you're good and they're good, you've got a better chance to win than most everybody else.”
Cantlay finished second to Rory McIlroy in Strokes Gained: Total in 2019. He will be representing the United States for the first time since the 2011 Walker Cup.
Reed is the only player to play in every TOUR Championship and qualify for every U.S. team since 2014. This was the first time Captain America needed a captain’s pick, though.
In the wake of his 2018 Masters victory, Reed struggled with the changes that come with a maiden major victory. A family vacation to the Hamptons after this year’s PGA Championship helped him regain his form. He’s finished in the top 25 in 13 of his past 14 worldwide starts. His win at THE NORTHERN TRUST was his first since his victory at Augusta National.
Reed’s last appearance on a U.S. team, at the 2018 Ryder Cup, ended in controversy, however. He said he was “blindsided” by not being paired with Spieth. Reed went 1-2 in Paris, losing both his team matches with Woods. Reed said in the same interview that Woods, who won the previous week’s TOUR Championship, apologized for his performance. Reed used to emulate Woods by wearing red-and-black, and they forged a strong bond when Reed was an assistant captain at the 2016 Ryder Cup and 2017 Presidents Cup.
Reed insists that last year’s controversy has “been put to bed,” however.
“I could see myself playing with any one of the guys,” he said recently.
Cantlay could be a good start.