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THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP

May 8, 2018

Patrick Reed

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Mr. Patrick Reed to the media center to the 2018 PLAYERS Championship. First of all, recently you've been named Best of April by the USOC for Team USA. What does that mean to you?

PATRICK REED: I mean, that's awesome. You know, it's such an honor to, one, just being able to represent your country and participate in the Olympics, and to actually go ahead and be recognized with all the other athletes in April, that's awesome. You know, it's a great honor, and I can't wait to celebrate with my wife.

THE MODERATOR: This week we've got two tests for you. We've got the golf course, obviously, but then also we've got the top 50 players in the FedExCup in the field. What are you looking forward to as you look at those two tests in the face this weekend?

PATRICK REED: You know, really the biggest thing is you have to go ahead and just take care of the golf course. If you go out and you feel like you have a good game plan, you play well and you execute your game plan and you shoot the numbers that you want to shoot, then hopefully that takes care of the other one. With how steep of a field it is and with how good the golf course is, I played the back nine today, and it's absolutely perfect. You're going to have to probably go shoot a low number, and the golf course is set up for it, where, if you hit a quality golf shot, it's going to reward you, and if you don't, you're going to get penalized for it. Just try to go out there and attack the golf course as much as we can and make as many birdies as possible, and hopefully at the end of the day, it's good enough.

THE MODERATOR: You entered this week having finished in the top 10 your last six starts. What's been the key to your consistently high level of play?

PATRICK REED: Yeah, I think the biggest thing is just putting it in perspective. I've put in the work, I've put in the hours that I needed to put in to get to this point. The biggest thing is now just to go out and play stress-free, go out and just play fearless, go and attack the golf course. I love being aggressive, so having the opportunity to go and attack a golf course, attack flags and just go after it is what I like to do. I feel like my short game has kind of turned around these past eight, ten events, and with that, I'm able to get up-and-down and save those pars, where earlier in the year I was kind of just making some careless bogeys that I've kind of cleaned up, and I feel like that's been a part of the success.

Q. Since you already know what you're going to be wearing or not wearing the rest of the week, we don't have to go there, but what about this golf course do you feel like sets up perfectly for your game, and then what about this golf course is going to present you with the most challenges for your golf game?
PATRICK REED: Yeah, I think the biggest thing is it seems to be, for the most part, a drawer's golf course off the tee. A lot of the holes you're hitting kind of draws off the tee, and for me, that's my comfort zone. I love to be able to aim right and just send it. But at the same time, I need to swing within myself. Because I get to hit a lot of draws a lot of times I want to amp up and get an extra 20 out of it when you don't need it, you just need the ball in the fairway you don't need the ball 20 yards farther but in the rough or in a fairway bunker. I feel like that's been the biggest thing for me in the past is getting the ball in the fairway and just kind of getting the ball in the right spots of the greens because in the past I'd come out here, I'd start feeling really comfortable with some of the shots I'd hit, especially off the tees with driver, and I'd get a little too aggressive by trying to hit it too far, then all of a sudden the swing breaks down. Then I'm playing out of the trees or playing out of areas you're not supposed to, so I can't really get the ball close. It's really kind of a double edged sword for me, being as comfortable as I am off the tees because everything is a draw, but if you start swinging too hard, now all of a sudden the ball starts going that way.

Q. Obviously you're comfortable with the person who has preceded you to this dais today. What sort of influence has Tiger had on you and what sort of relationship do you have with him?
PATRICK REED: I mean, we have a great relationship. The biggest thing that I've just learned from him is kind of go out there and do things your way, be yourself and work hard. You have to outwork everybody. If you can outwork everybody, then you should be able to play the best. I mean, if you're working in the correct way. With him, it doesn't matter if he has his "A" game or his "C" game, he mentally feels like he's still in it and has it. To have that kind of determination that he has, that's why he's been so successful.

That's another thing is you just have to feel like your head is strong when you're out there playing that you can take on the world, and that's the biggest thing I've probably tried to take from him.

Q. What did you have Sunday at Augusta, your A, your B or your C game?
PATRICK REED: Ooh. I had a golf game. I mean, I wouldn't -- it's hard to say. There were spurts there that I was hitting the ball really well, making some putts, and there were spurts there where I didn't hit that many quality golf shots. But I think the biggest thing was my course management on Sunday was definitely in perfect form. I missed the ball where you needed to miss it, where you could get it up-and-down or where you could take away the big numbers, and that's the biggest thing that, having the lead, especially going down the back nine at Augusta. There's been so many guys that have gone into that back nine with a comfortable lead and have lost it because of making a large number here or there, and I was able to plot myself around the golf course, and when I felt like I put myself in good position could go out and capitalize by hitting a quality golf shot.

Q. Obviously your success in team events is well documented. You're playing with two guys this week, one you might see later this year, the other you might see later next year. I'm wondering when do you start playing those kind of games against them? Do you send messages to them maybe even this week? Is there anything you do this week that could impact what you do at the Ryder Cup or the Presidents Cup?
PATRICK REED: No. They're totally different golf tournaments. You've got one match play and it's a team format, and you have an event like this that's a stroke play and is a huge event. Really the biggest thing is just going out there this week and getting in my zone and just kind of focusing on what I need to do to improve my golf game, try to improve every day, and just go out and shoot the lowest number I possibly can. The good thing is I'm pretty good friends with both the guys I'm playing with, so we're going to go out there, have a lot of fun, and hopefully feed off of each other, if we're all making a lot of birdies, or if not, being able to pull everyone back and try to salvage some rounds.

Q. You won the Masters, the pinnacle of the golf world. I'm wondering, what is your next challenge? What are you looking at to accomplish these next couple of years that are going to be your next milestones?
PATRICK REED: Really it's go out there and just keep on getting myself in contention and trying to win some more majors and win more golf tournaments because really at the end of the day, to fulfill everyone's goals and dreams, the easiest way to do that is to work harder than everybody, but then the next thing is to win golf tournaments. If you go out and win, then winning takes care of everything. That's the biggest thing is you have to go out there and work hard and not let up -- just because you won the Masters doesn't mean you've made it and you're done. You've got to work hard, and that's just a stepping-stone. You've got to move forward and continue playing some solid golf, and the way you're going to do that is by working harder, as if you haven't won, trying to always chase the wins. You do that, then none of this complacency will ever set in, and you're able to go out there and hopefully fulfill all your dreams.

Q. Brandel Chamblee has certainly been a polarizing TV analyst. He's rankled players and yourself included. Do you feel like any of this stuff is really meant in any kind of a personal way, or is it just a TV analyst expressing an opinion and others possibly taking very much disagree to it? Do you feel that it's in any way meant in a personal manner?
PATRICK REED: You're going to have to ask him. I have no idea. I don't really pay attention to too much that goes on on that. He's out there to do his job, and we're just out there to do our job, and that's to play golf.

Q. As a follow-up to that, do you feel that he does make golf more interesting for the viewer, even if he expresses opinions that you may not agree with?
PATRICK REED: It's hard to -- I mean, it's hard to really tell. I mean, I'm out there just playing golf. A lot of times when he's commentating or doing stuff like that, we're on the golf course, so we're not able to -- I don't record things, I don't watch it, so it's kind of one of those things that for me doesn't really matter.

Q. What is it like to play the 17th at this golf course during the tournament?
PATRICK REED: It's easier than today. Today was blowing 15 into the wind and they wanted me to hit a left-handed shot with a 9-iron. I struggled to get my normal 9-iron there today. It was impossible today.

But during the tournament, honestly in the past years that I have played it, the wind hasn't been blowing that hard or anything like that. I think that's the one hole that I actually don't get aggressive with. I don't try to go at the flag. I literally just hit it to the middle of the green and try to make a putt from there. I mean, I just treat it as if it's a normal green because really -- I think I've been averaging like a 51-degree into that green, maybe a pitching wedge, and if you can't hit that to the middle of a green, then you've got bigger issues. It seems like a lot of the guys that kind of struggle and hit it into the water on that hole and make the big numbers are trying to go for those front flags or trying to go for that back flag to get it close to that flag, and for me I just go to the middle of the green, and I'm not going to do what Rickie did. I think it was the year he won, where he birdied it five of six times, something like that, maybe six of six, however many times he played it. The only way I'm doing that is if I'm making a lot of long putts.

Q. As a Tiger fan, what was your reaction to seeing that he will be playing with Phil this week?
PATRICK REED: It's going to be crazy around that group. You know, there's going to be a lot of people, a lot of fans, and honestly, it's going to be good. It's going to be good for the viewers, people that are watching it on TV and aren't able to be here for the tournament. You know, that means there's going to be less crowds around our group, that's for sure. But it's going to be good. I mean, I don't remember the last time it was that they played together or anything like that, but I think it's been a while. We'll just have to wait and see.

Q. How's life changed for you since the Masters win?
PATRICK REED: Really it's just -- it's definitely been different. It's been great, but people just notice you more when you're out, whether you're in golf clothes. I used to be able to go to restaurants in my normal golf clothes and people just wouldn't even come up or anything like that. Now I show up in jeans and a tee shirt and an Astros hat, and all of a sudden everyone is kind of coming up to you. You definitely get noticed more. A lot more people want autographs and want to talk and all that kind of stuff. So it's been a lot of fun. It's just one of those things I've had to learn kind of how to handle my time really well, letting everyone know that it's okay, hey, I'll sign, I'll talk to you after, but once I -- I'm practicing right now, when I get done, I'll have time. That's been the hardest thing.

This week, throughout this morning, I told everyone, hey, guys, I'll sign afterwards, I'll take a picture afterwards. After I got done, before I came here, I probably spent 45 minutes to 50 minutes signing autographs from 18 basically all the way up to the clubhouse.

Q. Will there be less pressure on you when you go after the next major?
PATRICK REED: Less pressure? I don't know. I've never won a U.S. Open, so we'll have to see. I mean, really for me, my expectations for myself have definitely gone up, so I expect to go out and play well and get in contention. But really, pressure just -- to me, pressure just means you're prepared. You've put in the hard work. If you don't feel pressure when you're out there playing golf during big moments and stuff like that, then obviously you don't believe that you should be there or anything like that because if it doesn't -- obviously it doesn't mean that much to you if you're not feeling any pressure. So if you're feeling pressure, it obviously means something to you, and you feel like this is your time, you should be able to play well and try to win a golf tournament.

Q. Speaking of that, I know this is a huge week, but when do you start preparing for the U.S. Open? Will you go to Shinnecock? Have you been there? What do you know about it?
PATRICK REED: Well, I mean, I know some of the members out there, and they tell me how many great things about the golf course. I personally haven't been there yet. I don't know if I'm going early. I might. I haven't really figured out scheduling at that point. But I feel like I'm preparing for every tournament nonstop. I mean, every day I go out to the golf course and I prepare, and I just work on my golf game. I'm preparing for every event because I'm trying to get better than I was yesterday. So as long as I feel like I improve every day on something, it doesn't matter what it is, as long as I feel like I'm improving every day, then that should take care of preparing for a golf tournament. I mean, I don't prepare really any differently on the amount of hours I put in, the amount of golf balls or certain kind of things. There's definitely some shots, like say full swing wise, that I might work on a little bit more, but the actual preparation doesn't really change.

Q. We were talking about the monster group of Tiger, Phil and Rickie, and I'm curious, would you be cool if they put you in that group, or are you like, I'm fine with only having my wife and friends follow, because of the crowds, or because of everything that goes with it? If they said, do you want to play in that group, what would you say?
PATRICK REED: Well, if Tiger would match me again, then probably I would play.

Q. If y'all had the same outfit on?
PATRICK REED: Yeah, if he had to be a team player and have my colors again, probably I would.

Q. Are you going to pick the colors out?
PATRICK REED: Yeah, I should have texted him. I was thinking about texting him Friday night after we played Thursday and being like, hey, man, what you wearing tomorrow? Yeah, no, of course I would love to play with those two guys. I've played golf with them quite a bit, and it's always fun playing with T-Dog, it's always fun playing with Phil. The good thing about playing with them is if you don't feel too comfortable over the driver, you have some people to stop that golf ball for you before it goes out of bounds. That's one thing. You start kind of spraying it, it's like, all right, maybe it gets a good bounce.

You know, it's awesome playing with them, but at the same time, when you're not playing with them, it's good for my team when they're there, like Justine and everybody to be able to actually watch and see some golf. I played with TW last week, Justine said she probably saw maybe 35 percent of the shots we hit, and when I say we, I'm talking about the whole group. She didn't see very much of what I hit, she didn't see very much of Tiger or Brooks. You know, there wasn't really much to see in our group. None of us really played very well through Friday. It's one of those things that, with how hard she works with me, she's always grinding out here with me, it's always nice for her to be able to see kind of what we're doing and how we're doing out there, because after every round we go home and talk about, okay, on this bogey you made, what were you thinking, what was the game plan, was it -- so she can be like, okay, well, that wasn't really the right way to think on that hole, you probably should have done this or it was like, okay that was the right way to think, you just didn't do it, you made a poor golf swing. It's always nice for her to be able to see, but at the same time, any time you get in a marquee pairing like that, it's always fun to go out and play and get that adrenaline going and be around the old guys.

Q. What's been the coolest thing that's happened so far, because you're a little outside of a month being Masters champion?
PATRICK REED: The coolest thing I've ever had that's happened to me was golf related, would have been when little Windsor Wells, when I finished the golf tournament after the ceremony, after the press conference, I went back to Butler Cabin, and I didn't know Windsor Wells and my mother-in-law and the whole family was there and she looks at me and says, congratulations, daddy, I love you and she came and gave me a hug. And I was just like, all right, I'm done, I'm toast, I'm done. That was the coolest feeling because when I went on a run earlier in the year, I went on a run and I was gone from the house for five weeks, so I didn't see the little one for five weeks, and that was the first time I had to do that, and that was really hard. That was hard on me. I was sitting in hotel rooms trying to FaceTime and all that kind of stuff, and it's not a lot of fun. I told her when I left on that trip, daddy will bring you a trophy. Of course daddy didn't win. Daddy barely made any cuts that time. So daddy hasn't told her that anymore.

And so when I won at Augusta and I had the jacket on and she came up and said that to me, I gave her a hug, and I said, guess what? She goes, you got me a trophy. I said, yes, daddy got you a trophy. That was pretty cool. But non-golf related would have been I went to the basketball game, at MSG up in New York. I kind of get in there, I walk in, and I go down and sit courtside and have Chris Rock sits next to me, knows nothing about golf, Aziz sits next to him, knows nothing about golf. Strahan is sitting next to him, he knows stuff about golf. And then you have 2 Chainz. I don't think he knows much about golf. Not quite sure. So we're all sitting there, and they're all celebrities, so they just treat you like just a normal person. So you're just kind of sitting, hanging out. First time I got to hang out with Justine after Augusta, just kind of chill, relax. We're watching the game, and all of a sudden you just keep on seeing this head kind of peeking around, and it's 2 Chainz. All of a sudden I'm just like -- I have no clue who he is at the time, either. And so him and I are kind of both the same way. Next thing you know, they pan the camera on me and said, 2018 Masters champion, everyone starts going crazy up there in New York.

Then about 10 minutes later is when half time was, and Justine and I are still kind of sitting in our seats, and the other guys got up to go up stairs and 2 Chainz is still there, reaches over and kind of goes like that to the jacket and goes, so, is that the real thing? I was like, yeah, it is. He's like, that's cool. And then afterwards he asked for a picture with me. So I have a picture of myself in the green jacket with 2 Chainz next to me, and then you have Strahan, Aziz and Chris Rock in the background kind of looking like this, because we're all waiting for the elevator. That was really cool. It was a lot of fun. Just kind of being able to hang out with those kind of guys and just to actually sit down -- you have everywhere from a comedian to an athlete to a musician, and they're just a bunch of dudes hanging out, having a good time, and just normal guys.

That's the kind of side that no one ever sees because they always see them either in their football pads or in front of a camera doing their show or singing rap songs. Being able to kind of get outside and just kind of hang out with the guys and just see a normal bunch of guys hanging out, it was a lot of fun.

Q. Are you a 2 Chainz fan now?
PATRICK REED: Yeah, I've got a couple songs on my phone. Of course.

Q. You are beginning to sound more and more like a very thoughtful golfer talking about shots you're going to hit and what your strategy is around the golf course, and I was wondering other than hitting the middle of the green on 17 and trying not to spray your drives, how will you approach this golf course this year?
PATRICK REED: Probably pretty aggressively. In the past, I've had kind of mixed finishes here. I've had -- I think my best might be a 20th, which isn't that great. But I've had some missed cuts, some around 20th-place finishes, and every time it seems like I just play too careful out there. I kind of get up there, and one year I'll play really aggressive and I'll have too many big numbers. Another year I'll play too conservative, and with that being said, now all of a sudden I'm hitting a lot longer clubs into greens so it's hard to get the ball close. I feel like I'm hitting the ball well enough, especially off the tee, that there's no reason not to be aggressive. I feel like my short game is really solid right now, around the greens here is absolutely perfect, so I feel like I can get up-and-down from anywhere. So with that being said, I feel like besides for hole 17, I'm going to play pretty aggressive on this golf course and try to make as many birdies as possible. With as steep of a field as there is this week, pars isn't going to get it done. You've got to make birdies. Even if it's blowing 15 out there, guys are going to make birdies out there because of how talented the field is. You can't get complacent. You have to go out there and make as many birdies as possible.

Q. Will you use driver often?
PATRICK REED: Probably. I always use driver. I love the driver. Yeah, I mean, today on the back nine except for hole 10, which driver goes -- the fairway runs out, so you can't hit driver there, and 12 today was blowing so hard into the wind I couldn't cover the bunker on the left. Besides those two holes, today it's driver on every hole I play. If the wind is a little calmer I'll hit driver on 12 to try to drive the green. If not, you bail out right there. I feel like I can get up-and-down. So really on the back nine there's only one hole that basically guaranteed I'm not going to hit driver on, but the rest of them probably.

Q. You'll be playing this tournament twice before you defend at Augusta. I know you haven't --
PATRICK REED: Oh, yeah. I was like, wait a second. I am?

Q. I know you haven't played here in March, but just from a pure scheduling standpoint, what are your thoughts on moving the tournament?
PATRICK REED: Well, I haven't seen the schedule for next year, like the full schedule. But I honestly feel like that might be probably a good change because if you look at, we have a lot of events we play, from the beginning of the season up to Augusta, and then it seems like every other week is either a major, World Golf Championship or THE PLAYERS. You know, I think it's a good idea to kind of spread it out where you have, throughout the entire season, you have big events in there where there's some space in between, just because you want to have big events throughout the entire year, not just all just bunched up at one time. I feel like that's what's happened right now is right now there's just too many big events in a row. Don't we go -- we go major -- so we go -- at one stage, we go major, regular event, World Golf Championship, major, and that's just a lot on the guys. It's a lot on us, especially towards the end of the year. We feel like it just needs to be spread out a little bit more where you have more excitement, more big events throughout the entire year rather than all bunched up at one time.

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