January 30, 2019
Q. Happy to be joined by Patrick Reed. Patrick, welcome to Saudi. You got a very warm welcome yesterday from some local school children when you went to visit them; just tell us about that, one of the visions for this tournament is growing the game in Saudi, and it's nice to see so many kids welcome you, and they even brought out the Ryder Cup celebration.
PATRICK REED: Yeah, you know, it was awesome. To kind of show up and getting in really early yesterday morning, to be able to come to the golf course and just kind of get settled and then go across the street to the World Academy and hang out with the children and just kind of see the culture and see how everyone is and how the children are over there, and it was just unbelievable. They welcomed me with open arms. They had some awesome questions, and we just had a blast.
You know, it's kind of one of those things that I've always -- a passion of mine has always been to try to grow the game, and the way you're going to do that is by helping out the younger generation, because later in life, I'm going to pass it on down to them.
To be able to go out and hang out with the kids, especially in a place I've never been before, being in Saudi for the first time, it was a lot of fun. They say they don't know a lot about golf, but when I'm over there, some of the questions they had just about sports and also golf in general, I'm sitting there going, they know a lot more than I thought. It was a lot of fun. I hope to actually -- I might pop over there later on this week just to say hello because it was just a blast.
Q. I know you play a lot on the European Tour now and various places around the world you're visiting for the first time. You're keen to kind of spread that message?
PATRICK REED: Yeah, you know, I've always enjoyed working in whether it's clinics, just going out and having fun or anything with the kids and the game because I feel like you don't actually grasp and get the full picture of what golf really is until you actually get involved with it. You know, you watch it on TV -- you actually have to go and see it. A lot of times, children, they -- when they're at events they can't get close enough to the ropes. They don't really see much, all that kind of stuff. If I can bring golf to them, it's a lot of fun.
So being able to do clinics, hang out with them and show them the fun side of golf, it's going to get them more interested and have a little more fun with it and get more people playing.
Q. Just staying attention to this week, we've got a fantastic field. I know you love the competition, and having so many star players here, it's a great way to start this tournament.
PATRICK REED: Yeah, you know, to be the first event, first year that it's played here in Saudi and to have as many guys that have flown over, have four of the top 5 players in the world, nine Ryder Cup players, and to have I think it's like eight or nine former and current world No. 1 players, it just speaks volumes for the event, how the guys felt like it was going to be run when they came over. It speaks volumes about how strong the European Tour is getting, and to get all these guys coming over and coming over and playing, it means a lot.
I can speak really for myself, ever since I've been here, it's been unbelievable. The people have been great. The golf course is in perfect shape.
Today being out there, playing the first time for the full 18, first 10, 11 holes, I felt like, all right, this golf course is very gettable because the winds were down. When that wind starts picking up, it's a completely different golf course.
Q. Without going into any of the background, what did it mean to you (indiscernible)?
PATRICK REED: You know, really Jordan and I, we go way back. I grew up and I played a lot of junior golf, amateur golf, a lot of professional golf with him, and our relationship has always been a solid relationship. I think that was more for us just to show everyone else that, hey, what was said at Ryder Cup and the things that have gone on at Ryder Cup, it's all in the past. We were all over it the day we got home.
For us, it was more on just kind of showing everyone else that, hey, we're all good, we're fine, that everyone else should be, and we just need to try to keep on focusing and get the team ready and go on for next Ryder Cups so we can hopefully keep the Cup back in the States.
Q. Obviously after you brought Augusta National down to its knees they decided to lengthen the fifth hole. Can you just talk about that lengthening and how much that's going to change the golf course for you?
PATRICK REED: Of course I've heard about them lengthening it. I haven't been back to play it or see it. But honestly, it all depends. I don't know how much they've lengthened it by, but I've always played --
Q. 40 or 50 yards.
PATRICK REED: So I've always played that hole really aggressively. I mean, I just start it at the right trees and draw it down the fairway basically to get even with or just past most of the bunker. So I think dropping the tee back back, the only thing it's going to do for myself, especially if it's 40 or 50 yards, I'm just going to be able to hit drivers and it's not going to get to the bunkers, so it's just going to make the iron shot into the green longer. That being said, it's just going to take a premium on hitting a really solid and quality iron shot because that hole already has been -- even if you're in the fairway with 9-iron, it's a tough iron shot and it's hard to get close because there's so many ridges in that green. Now going in with a 7- or 6-iron, guys are actually going to have to utilize that front slope and try to bounce it up or hit into that slope.
I think it'll actually probably make it a little easier off the tee for guys like myself or guys that are even a little shorter than me because you're not going to get to the traps on the left.
Q. I know you just said that everything is fine between you and Jordan, but how important do you think it'll be that Tiger is going to be the next captain of the Presidents Cup? Do you think Tiger can play a part in -- emotions were quite raw in France --
PATRICK REED: Yeah, emotions are always going to be running high when you're either on the losing team or the winning team. You're either on an all-time high or all-time low, depending on what team you're on. The guys have all talked -- I mean, Tiger and I have talked. I've talked to probably every single player that has a possibility of -- a chance to get on the team. On our side, we're all good. We're just out there -- that's all way behind us, and we're out there just trying to play and trying to make the team because with how deep golf is these days, you have so many guys, especially the young guys coming up that have a chance of making that team, and you've got to keep on grinding, keep on playing well.
Q. Being such a young golf course, you said that you thought it was gettable until the wind picked up. Can you give us an idea of what are the keys to this golf course and maybe the holes that you really liked out there?
PATRICK REED: I mean, really it all depends on the wind direction and what the wind is doing because if the wind is calm, if you're hitting your driver well, you can really attack this golf course and kind of feed it into the necks and get it up closer where you have wedges in your hand. With having wedges in your hand, the greens are soft enough, receptive enough that you can attack the golf course. You know, the hard thing about the golf course is when the wind blows, even though the greens are large in actual size, there's a lot of slopes, so there's a bunch of quadrants you've got to get the ball into, and if you're not in the right quadrant, you're going to have some of these putts that are going to be almost impossible for a two-putt, depending on how hard the wind is blowing.
You know, it's going to put a premium on ball-striking if the wind is up, and if the wind is not up, really I feel like it's more of a premium on driving and putting because if you put wedges in guys' hands, a poor wedge on Tour nowadays is 20 feet, and you still have the opportunity of making that putt. But if you can play out of that short grass here and kind of keep it out of the fairway bunkers, you're going to be able to really score and attack this golf course.
Q. What makes you feel at home when you're travelling? What kind of things do you do to feel comfortable?
PATRICK REED: You know, honestly, I think the biggest thing was you always have to, of course, get used to the time change and all that kind of stuff, but really when I shushed the crowd at Ryder Cup in 2014 at Gleneagles, ever since -- from that point, ever since I've come over and I've played in events, the crowds have been unbelievable. They've been so supportive, and normally when you shush somebody, they're not really receptive when you come back, and they seemed to love it.
You know, ever since that event and ever since I joined the European Tour and have come over, they've just welcomed me like a family. So for me, honestly, to be able to come over, it's like a second home. It's so easy for me to just kind of come over. I have a lot of friends that are part of the European Tour, players on the European Tour, and people that I meet along the way that are always just kind of there to help me out and just to be friends and hang out with.
Q. Can you give us your views on some of the things that Chamblee has said to criticise you?
PATRICK REED: Honestly, since I've been over here, I haven't really had Golf Channel, haven't really watched it. Honestly, I haven't seen what he says. But the only thing I can speak of is ever since I've been here, it's been unbelievable. There's a reason why all the guys have come over and played. You always see some guys come over and kind of play the Abu Dhabi and Dubai and that kind of run, and for them to stay over and play in Saudi at this event where for me, I've always wanted to grow the game and grow the game worldwide, and that's why I've always wanted to play on both Tours. I want to be known as a worldwide player. So for me, it was a very easy decision to come over. I always thought any time I can actually feel like I make an impact and help the community as well as help the sport, I'm all for it.
You know, I feel like a lot of guys feel that way, and that's why more guys are coming over wanting to play. The fields these days are so strong and so deep that when you come over and you play, not only do you get to play great golf because you still have just a deep field, all the guys have a chance of winning if they have a good week, but now all of a sudden you have other elements in your game that you're trying to fine tune and develop from coming overseas and playing rather than just playing in the States.
Q. Obviously every event you enter you want to win, but at the same time in a couple months you have an event that you may want to be defending champion. What is your plan, if there is a plan?
PATRICK REED: Really for me, it's just keep on grinding, keep on practising. There's fine tuning everything as well as just making sure the clubs are in play that -- as I get closer to the event. I don't switch a lot of clubs for -- per golf course or event. I usually have like a 15- or 16-club kind of setup that depending on the week will determine what my 14 clubs are, and that's just interchangeable, whether it's a 2-iron compared to my hybrid or whether it's a 5-wood compared to my 3-wood, just depending on what club I need more off the tee.
For me it's not -- nothing really changes, just to make sure I get everything kind of dialed in, distance control and just how am I hitting the golf ball and putting going into Augusta. Any weakness you have, Augusta will find it and it will show it. You can hit the ball perfectly there and still not have a good week because you're not putting well and vice versa. You can be putting great and chipping very well, driving it well, but you're not that sharp with your irons, you're going to struggle.
For me, it's just making sure my all-around game is where it needs to be.
Q. Yesterday Brooks was in here and people asked him about how he used the European Tour as a way to kind of get into professional golf and eventually on the PGA Tour. You went the other route, did Monday qualifiers. Can you talk about why you did that, and now knowing what you know, would you have changed that?
PATRICK REED: No. You know, I went out and I did -- I went to try to get my PGA Tour card through Q-school and was unsuccessful, and that same exact year I went to try to get my European Tour card, as well, and made it to final stage, and I got I think it was conditional status on the Challenge Tour, and at that point I didn't think it was smart to go and play the Challenge Tour on conditional status when I didn't feel like I had the funds to travel that far to play, and to play enough. So I spent some time at home just kind of grinding away, and at that time I was going through a swing change with a new coach, so I felt like I needed to get my swing in order and kind of get my golf game where I wanted it to be, and at that point a month, month and a half after that when I felt like the swing was where it needed to be was when the Monday of Valero was coming up. It kind of just timetable fit perfectly in my schedule to, at that point, backyard basically, from being in Houston to San Antonio, go down and try to Monday, and getting through and getting a sponsor exemption actually on the Monday in San Antonio, making the cut there, we just thought let the momentum go and keep on going and just follow the Mondays.
Q. There was some talk of four guys battling for No. 1. How desperate or how much would you like to be trying to battle for No. 1?
PATRICK REED: Yeah, it would be awesome. I just need to continue down the path and grinding and putting myself in position playing on Sunday in golf tournaments. The only way you get an opportunity to become No. 1 in the world is by winning golf tournaments and having that chance on Sundays consistently. Rosey has done an absolutely amazing job, BK has played some great golf all last year, as well, and in order to get to that spot, you have to consistently have a chance to win golf tournaments and close out tournaments, not just once or twice a year but three, four, five times a year. That's what it takes. And also it takes doing that in big events. I got a taste of one of those big events by winning at Augusta and put myself in position at the U.S. Open, and I just need to keep on putting myself in those positions and hopefully closing them off.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports