Prospect of not seeing family again a dark place mentally: Patrick Reed

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Patrick Reed - TheGolfingHub
Patrick Reed comes to defend his Farmers Insurance Open title after a rough patch on the health frront last year. Photo: latimes.com

Like to welcome the defending champion of the Farmers Insurance Open Patrick Reed. Coming off that convincing five-stroke win last year at 14 under here, just some thoughts on being back. I believe you had a top-10 even the year before that, sixth place maybe in 2020, so obviously a place that suits you and your game well. Just some thoughts on being back here at Torrey Pines.

Patrick Reed: It’s awesome being back. Anytime you can defend, it’s amazing to be back on site. I love this golf course. It’s one of those golf courses where you really have to think your way around this place. It’s not just set up and hit driver and just attack. You actually have to have a pretty good game plan going into this place. I feel like I do better at harder golf courses and places you have to think around because it gets me more involved and more engaged in the golf shots.

 

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You’re making your eighth start of this season highlighted by the runner-up finish in Bermuda. What are some of the things you’ve been working on and some of the things you’re coming in confident with as far as your game goes?

Reed: Confidence is actually pretty high. I got a lot of work done earlier this week as well as during the offseason or short offseason that we had. In December I was able to get a lot of work done with Sean Hogan and Dave Leadbetter to really just kind of dial in not only what we’re doing on the golf swing but really get the clarity about my game, about certain golf shots, about how the swing’s supposed to be.

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I feel like with golf, the more you can understand what you’re trying to do and feel these things, the easier it is to kind of fix things on the fly, because let’s be honest, with golf you’re obviously always trying to hit the best golf shot, but at the end of the day it’s who can play their misses better and who can manage their off swings the best in order to have a chance to win on Sundays.

I wanted to ask you about coming off of the entire season last year. You had the win early, went through your illness, there was all the Ryder Cup talk, all that. When you look back on last year, what’s the takeaway? Like what’s the feeling about both the ups and downs of it?

Reed: I really think the biggest thing is anytime you can win on the PGA Tour throughout a year, it’s a good year. Obviously to be a little bit more consistent, have more chances to win than one, that’s what turns it into a great year. I felt like last year was a good year for me. I didn’t feel it was my best, but really allowed me to sit down and kind of reflect on the things I did well. There’s also things I need to change and I feel like making that swing change and working with David Leadbetter and really locking on that golf swing is something I need to do for the long term and I feel like it’s going to pay dividends later on.

 

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With that being said, I feel like the kind of ups and downs throughout the season last year, the inconsistencies really drove that decision and really cemented that decision. With that being said, I’m really looking forward to this year, especially coming on right now where I start feeling a little bit more comfortable with things that we’re working on. With that being said, just the confidence is through the roof because of that. You’re at home, you have Coach there, you’re hitting some really good golf shots and quality golf shots. Whenever you do that it just seems to give you that extra momentum you need going into tournament weeks.

Your illness was serious. How long did it take you to kind of feel normal again and feel like you were strong enough to compete on a golf course rather than just be there?

Reed: So I would say there’s a difference between, for us, being strong enough to play than being 100 percent. I felt strong enough to play, strongish enough to play at East Lake, but right now I’d say I’m at 90 percent. I’m not quite fully 100 percent yet. Speed’s not 100 percent there and just kind of I would say strength and endurance is getting there. It’s one of those things that it’s been a long process, a long run. But with the amazing team that I have at home on my side, I wouldn’t even think I would be even close to where I am now without them. They’ve pushed me pretty hard and know when I can fully throttle it or when I kind of need to dial back to not just golf wise, but just stay healthy and get across that hump because it was a brutal run there when I got sick. At the same time, I feel like we’ve done everything that we can in order to continue moving forward.

Can you speak to what kind of fear you might have felt when you were most ill? I mean, I don’t know what kind of mindset you have with illnesses and things like that.

Reed: Really, I’ve never been in the hospital really before that because of illness or anything, knock on some wood.

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Really, I felt really bad. Obviously when I was in the hospital and then when the doctor told me that hey, there’s a good chance you might not survive this and you might not see your family again, when you hear that you go from feeling really bad to a really dark place mentally.

 

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The only thing I could do is really rely on the team that we had at the hospital to not only get me through, but also mentally just try to keep on pushing. You want to see your kids again, watch them grow up. I think that was the first time I felt like really kind of almost beaten. I’ve always been really mentally strong, nothing really phases me and that was the first time I’m sitting there and there’s a lot of things going through your mind. You just don’t know what’s going to happen. I mean, I think everyone has kind of had a fear of drowning before, but I felt like I was literally drowning out of water, you know, in just air, and feeling like I’m just struggling.

To be here, to be able to play golf and to be back hanging out with the kids and everything is a blessing for me. Really made me sit back and realize you can’t take life for granted, you have to enjoy every moment because you just never know. Something could happen and you could be gone in a matter of a blink.

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