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As it became increasingly clear over the weekend that Patrick Reed might win The Masters, I was shocked to see the amount of vitriol on Twitter towards the idea. It was so much that on Sunday, BEFORE he won the tournament, Yahoo was already running a story under the headline “Why Do So Many People Hate Patrick Reed?” I read the story, and while I’ll admit the guy is shady, I’ll ask this - Was not the guy that EVERYBODY wanted to win The Masters equally shady? Why is it so many people desperately wanted to watch Tiger win while those same people were revolted by seeing Reed win?
Here’s my hypothesis. While people think golf needs Tiger Woods, I think golf really needs Patrick Reed. One of the big problems golf has is that outside of Tiger, there aren’t any interesting golfers for the masses to latch on to. Jordan Spieth is great, but he is boring. Bubba Watson? He’s fun, but so. Dustin Johnson’s had his personal issues, but he’s a likeable guy it would seem. The problem is, outside of Tiger golf has a bunch of generally likeable guys who win some, lose some, and stay out of trouble.
It’s like Jack Nicholson said in the original Batman movie “This town needs an enema.” In this case, “this town” is golf, and Patrick Reed could very well be that enema. He’s brash, he’s controversial, he’s combative, and he makes no apologies for who and what he is. In other words, he’s EXACTLY what golf needs- a bad guy. If Reed keeps talking and then keeps winning, golf fans are going to flock to see who can take him down each and every week. That would be great for golf. If the WWE has taught us anything, it’s that America loves to hate the bad guys. Maybe just maybe golf has one now, and if so, Patrick Reed is just the shot in the arm golf needs.
My advice to Patrick Reed is this – own the bad guy role. You’ve already laid the groundwork for this, so keep it up. Maybe bring your green jacket to the White House and get a picture with the President while you are wearing it. Keep bragging – maybe say you think you’ll win a natural grand slam in the next few years. And own the Captain America thing. People that hate you do not want you to have that name. Use it as much as you can in interviews, maybe use it third person style when saying who you think will win the next major. Oh, and keep winning. Do that, and you are going to be VERY good for golf.
More wisdom next week.