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August 11, 2019
Jersey City, New Jersey
EMILY TILLO: 16 months since your last PGA TOUR victory, good memories winning this event in 2016. A few comments on the victory.
PATRICK REED: It was a grind out there today, that's for sure. Felt amazing being back in that position, having a chance to go into Sunday with the lead and to kind of flip the round throughout the middle of the round today was a great feeling to do. Didn't feel that great early on. My caddie, Kessler, told me to keep me it and to tell me, once we got through the 7th hole, he's like, "Hey, you've hit two greens in seven holes, you can birdie both of them, so just hit greens and we'll be okay."
You know, he kind of got my mind on just hitting greens rather than trying to be really aggressive since I lost the lead at that point, and you know, I was able from there to build up a little confidence and kind of get going on that back nine. Was able to finish it off there on the last.
EMILY TILLO: Moving to second in the FedExCup standings. How much did you draw coming down that back nine stretch from that 2016 victory, knowing that you had done it before.
PATRICK REED: I think the biggest thing was kind of drawing on those moments. Drawing on the moments in 2016. Also drawing on the moments at Augusta when having the lead and watching the lead, to shrink or go away, and then being able to still sit there and reminds yourself that, hey, I have these holes left that the guys are birdieing. So I was able to kind of go into that mentality and go out and attack the holes that I knew were gettable and try to make it as stress-free as possible on the holes I knew were the hard ones.
Q. Did you ever doubt yourself?
PATRICK REED: No. I think the biggest thing was it was more frustration and questioning going on because I felt like I was doing a lot of things really well. Felt like we were practicing the right way and playing golf on the golf course the right way, and the numbers weren't producing. It was just kind of wearing on you mentally and finally when I got to Bethpage, I just felt like, I didn't have any speed. Felt like nothing was -- nothing was going right. I felt like I was doing a lot of things right but there was a lot of question marks, every time I look up, the ball was going different directions.
Finally my team, Justine and my coach said, hey, I haven't seen this kind of side of you. You're kind of -- you just look lethargic. You don't seem like you can actually move out there. I think we need to take an actual break. You actually haven't had a break so let's shut it down for a little bit and we'll pick it back up at Pebble.
So I took three weeks off there, and I took ten days right after I finished at Bethpage. Didn't touch a golf club. All of the sudden, just playing with the kids, hanging out with my wife, next thing you know, after those ten days, I come back and I'm hitting the ball farther. I have a clear picture on what I'm trying to do and all of a sudden, I come out and I start hitting the ball where it's supposed to go. I'm starting to think clearly while I'm out there and numbers are starting to produce and the game starts turning around.
So I think the biggest thing this year is I just got myself in that situation where I was -- might have been working too hard and I was mentally and physically drained and you know, I was able to kind of recover and get back to the golf that I know how to play.
Q. How aware were you, if at all, what was going on in front of you? At one point, Jon bogeyed 14 right as you were birdieing 14, for a two-stroke swing to retake the lead. Are you aware of that?
PATRICK REED: I knew I was at 14 -- I was at 14-under and he just birdied the par 5 and went to 16. We were just hitting our tee shots. So I already saw that he was at 16. Then when I got up to the green, I saw they was through the par 3 at 15.
At that point, after missing the putt for birdie on 14, Kessler looked at me and said, "Hey, you have to have him feel that bogey." And he's like, "You have to go out and we have to make birdie. We have to hit a good golf shot here and get the crowd going. You've got to do something to try to rattle him, and also just try to get yourself tied with the lead or try to take that lead."
You know, I was able to make the putt on 14 for birdie after hitting a good iron shot and at that point I think he bogeyed 15, as well. When I made that putt on 15, I knew all I had to do was hit a good drive on the next hole and if I just get it in the fairway, it's a 30-yard little pitch and you should be able to handle it.
You know, after seeing him par that hole and birdieing that hole, I'm sitting there going, okay, you've got the lead that you need, but then all of a sudden Ancer, who I played with started birdieing. Even though I flipped the script on Rahm, the guy I was playing with was coming on strong and played well at the end, birdied two of the last three, and made it interesting on the last.
Q. Given how much you like team events, I know the focus is FedExCup, but was the Presidents Cup on your mind and how much would it frustrate you if you were not on that team in December?
PATRICK REED: You know, it was definitely on my mind a little more than other weeks because of where we are. You know, at Liberty National where we won in 2017, and you know, having the dinner with Tiger and the guys earlier this week, and seeing the Statue of Liberty on every hole, and then having the fans yell "Captain America" and "USA" all week, it definitely was on my mind.
But the biggest thing for me was just to put that behind me and just focus on the golf I'm playing because at the end of the day; if you play good golf, that all takes care of itself, whether you make the team or not.
At this point I knew where I stood and needed to go out and have a good Playoffs and good run here and secure my spot or at least get myself in position where I have a chance of being a pick. It just comes down to one of those things that if you play good golf, it all takes care of itself.
Q. Down the stretch, did it almost feel like a Sunday Internationals match with Abraham?
PATRICK REED: It felt like that at the very beginning starting on Hole 1. It was awesome to see -- when you're up here, you know that you're going to have a lot of fans behind you, being the USA guy on the tee box, and to see how well they respected not just me but how much they embraced him and respected him, it was awesome to see because it very easily to have been one-sided with the fans.
But hats off to him and how they respected not only myself but respected Abraham while he was playing, and down towards the end, you could definitely tell he was feeding off of them a little bit and was able to finish strong and make some birdies coming in.
Q. WHY are you wearing blue this week?
PATRICK REED: Already wore red, white and blue this week. Biggest thing was I played well last Sunday and the past couple Sundays well in this outfit, this actual shirt.
Q. Wash it?
PATRICK REED: No. (Laughter) of course. How much I sweat -- yeah, it's one of those things that you always want to kind of stay in the current product of your company and I felt like it was fitting considering at the start of the week, red, white and blue and finish the week off in blue.
Q. Such a good shot on 14. Just curious what the club was and what you're trying to do with that back ridge toward the pin?
PATRICK REED: It was 152-yard shot and to keep it on the green at that ridge, 148, to Kess and I were sitting there thinking with the wind direction, if I hit a 90 percent pitching wedge, it would land on that ridge and kind of feed towards the hole. It came out a little fast. Honestly when I first hit it, looked like it was going long and luckily we knew if I took some off, that it wasn't going to go over the green and was able to hit it right where I would feed down towards the hole. I think that's the biggest thing about that hole is everyone thinks of those right flags, you have to take them on. Just hit it to the middle of the green past that ridge, it will feed all the way down to that flag.
Q. There are obviously the pictures of you at Valspar with you and Leadbetter, were you getting too technical at all?
PATRICK REED: I felt like I was getting too technical on the golf course. During practices, no. I've always been technical when I'm practicing, but when I went to play, I was getting a little too technical and that's when I was able to know that what I was doing on the practice facilities and the work I was doing technique-was was good. I just need to go out and actually produce golf shots and play golf shots, not the swing.
Q. When is the last time you took ten days off without using a club?
PATRICK REED: 1990 when I was born. (Laughter) honestly, I mean, I can't remember last time I took seven days off, like not touching a golf club. It was hard. Those ten days were hard. Good thing is we were out of town hanging out and is it was easy to keep them in the travel case and distract myself with a lot of other things by playing with the little ones.
Q. Where were you?
PATRICK REED: Hamptons by Shinnecock. I was there for two weeks, so I knew if I took ten days off, I had four days I could play as much as I wanted at that point but I was able to take the ten days off.
Q. Where did you go when you got done?
PATRICK REED: Shinny -- Friar's head and National.
Q. Did you hear any of the negative stuff from the crowd? I know you said you hear a lot of Captain America stuff, but you get a lot of different shouts?
PATRICK REED: I mean, you always hear it. No matter who you are as a player, whatever sport you play, you hear the negative and you hear the positive. The thing is, how do you use the negative? Do you use it as something that's going to keep you down or do you use it as motivation to go out and prove them wrong or just continue playing good golf shots. If people are yelling something negative and you make birdie or hit a good golf shot, all of a sudden they don't have anything really to say. Honestly just go out there and really focus on what I'm doing and go out and try to play the best golf I can, because the better you play, the least that you're going to hear on the negative side.
Q. While you were struggling, obviously you've come around a little bit lately, but have you had any discussions with Tiger about the Presidents Cup? Did he give you any encouragement or any reason to give you sort of a boost at all or anything like that?
PATRICK REED: Not really. You know, the only thing Tiger and I have ever really talked about, we talk a lot about our kids. We really don't talk much about golf. You know, I feel like our friendship is beyond golf.
You know, just kind of one of those things that of course here recently we've talked a little more about the Presidents Cup, and it's the same thing. It's the same thing he always said, "Good golf takes care of itself. Go out and play well. Go out and play golf like you know how to play."
You know, that's basically my motto going in, any ways, was that no matter what, I'm sitting 49 going into this week in the standings here at FedEx, I was 17th in the standings at Presidents Cup, and you know, the way you improve on those, the way you make it to East Lake and the way you have a chance to win FedExCup and make it on the team is by playing good golf, winning golf tournaments and giving yourself chances on Sundays. I think that was the biggest thing coming in for me was don't worry about Presidents Cup, don't worry about FedExCup, don't worry about this week; go play good golf and give yourself a chance to win a golf tournament. If you have a chance to win go, ahead and take it.
You know, it's one of those things that my daughter, every time I leave, she's old enough now, she's like, "You going to the golf course?"
"Daddy's going to the golf course" breaks my heart, obviously because it's like Dad's leaving again. I keep on telling her, don't worry, dad is going to bring home a trophy.
I've let her down now for what, 14, 15 months. Finally Dad gets to bring home a trophy for the little win.
And Barrett, his first tournament, first tournament I won with him as the Masters and now all of a sudden a Playoff event, so he's off to a pretty good start. I just can't wait to get home and to share this win with them and kind of reflect on it and hang out with the little ones. But at the end of the day, recover tomorrow and get back to the grind and get ready for the Playoffs, because this is just the first week. We have two more weeks coming in.
Q. What in your mind is the single greatest thing about winning today?
PATRICK REED: Honestly, I think the best thing about winning today was I haven't had my phone yet, haven't turned on my phone, but when I call home, I tell Windsor Wells that Daddy is bringing home a trophy.
It's one of those things that it's great coming out and playing great golf but it's another thing to be able to bring home hardware and Windsor Wells, she really understood what the green jacket was and every time I kind of walked around, she's like, "Daddy, you got the green jacket?"
I keep on telling her, like I say, "When daddy goes away, he's going to try to bring you home a trophy." This time, actually able to bring one home and share a win with her and Barrett and, and just seeing the little ones.
Q. You spoke about getting your first win since the Masters. Some guys tend to sort of take their foot off the gas pedal just a little bit after winning a major. You don't seem like that kind of guy, but do you feel like just sort of in the aftermath, enjoying it, resting up a little bit? Did you ever take your foot off the gas pedal a little bit?
PATRICK REED: I felt like I almost did the opposite. I almost felt like I pressed harder and worked harder and tried harder and therefore, it made me physically and mentally drained. I kind of went the wrong direction and that's why I felt like I needed the break.
You know, I mean, I'll never forget a great friend of mine told me that, hey, this is just the beginning. When I won Augusta, use this as a steppingstone. Don't use it as, I've done it. Use it as a steppingstone to continue, continue to play better, continue to grow. I almost went overboard on that and I grinded too hard. I played too much. I wore myself out; that I mean, I wasn't able to kind of -- I was almost outside of my body. I couldn't feel anything that was going on. I couldn't feel where the club was.
I felt like I was making good swings and the ball is going different directions and felt like I was hitting good putts that weren't even close, and all of a sudden, the numbers are getting higher rather than lower. I sat with my team, and said, hey, we need to shut it down. Like this is a time, right after the U.S. Open, that you can take a little break here and we can pick it back up -- at PGA, you can pick it back up at the U.S. Open and finish the year off right.
You know, it was hard for me. Not used to actually taking time off. And one, having to take time off; and then two, doing it when you're kind of questioning things, you're not feeling great; you know, you feel like you're doing a lot of things well but the numbers aren't producing and you're sitting there scratching your head and now you're shutting and down, and you're just like, I'll come back and be rusty. If anything, I came back stronger and with a clearer picture and mind and I was able to go out and play.
Q. Since your last win, you've been in the headlines for a lot of things that weren't necessarily your game or your success on the course and there were a lot of headlines this week, a lot of controversy and you weren't a part of it at all. How nice to let your game do the talking?
PATRICK REED: I think that's the biggest thing is I've always kind of come out and I've always popped up my headphones and just played golf. You know, I don't focus too much on the noise that's going on, whether it's media, fans, what's going on anywhere. I just when I come out to work, that's why I've always kind of put on my headphones is to kind of get in my own world and my own bubble, to go out and do the best I can on the golf course.
It's just something that I've always kind of done is always try to take one step at a time, one day at a time and focus on what I can control and that's play good golf and be a good husband and be a good father. At the end of the day, it's one of those things that a lot of the things, the controversies with slow play and issues that guy are bringing up, they need to be addressed.
But there's ways that it can be done in order for it to be beneficial for both sides, for the players as well as for the TOUR and for the spectators and everybody.
So you know, the players and the TOUR will all get it right. It's just going to take a little time for us to get that dialed in.
Q. You're 12th in The Presidents Cup standings right now. If you're not able to climb into the top eight after next week, are you hoping to lean on Tiger for a pick?
PATRICK REED: Yeah, it's one of those things, got to continue to play good golf. If I'm not inside the top eight, that means, you know, that I have until China to continue playing good golf, continue playing well, and if you continue playing good golf and you continue to have a chance to win on Sunday, you continue winning golf tournaments, then it's one of those things that it's going to be hard not to pick somebody. But at the same time, if you don't play good golf, now all of a sudden you're really relying on a pick, whether it's past history, past results, stuff like that.
For me, it's just continue playing good golf and that will all take care of itself. You know, if Tiger ever calls me and wants to talk or anything like that, he knows I'll always call him back. I'm not going to bug him. I'm not going to call him and bug him. His job's hard enough. If I continue to go out there and play good golf, I know he's going to make the right decision on picking four guys that he feels are best for the team at the end of the day. That's all you can ask for is for your captain to go out and pick the best four guys that you feel are going to help you win the Presidents Cup overseas.
Q. Starting the week outside looking into that top 30, now sitting at No. 2 in the FedExCup standings does that free up your mind going into next week knowing you'll be at East Lake?
PATRICK REED: Definitely frees me up on knowing that I'm going to be at East Lake. But at the end of the day, you know, we still have two weeks, next week still have a lot of points available to go out and play well. Now with the staggered start at East Lake, you want to put yourself in the best position you can going into East Lake.
Because one of my goals has always been to win the FedExCup, and to win here and feel I'm in good form, it's one of those things leading into next week, recover, get going and start Tuesday, grind up again and get ready to go and try to put the foot down again and start playing some solid golf and try to win another golf tournament.
Q. After what you talked about at the PGA, the time you had to take off, how much better does this feel now, knowing the roller coaster you went through for this season?
PATRICK REED: It feels great. I feel like I should have won earlier this past month, month and a half. I feel like I had a really good opportunities there, and either didn't make any putts or, you know, hit a couple loose shots here or there that really cost me to win golf tournaments. But you know, to get so close and feel like it has not quite gotten over that edge and to kind of have a year that you're not really thrilled about, and that you feel like has been kind of a struggle to come out; and to be in form -- I feel like the best thing is to be in form how I was throughout the past month and a half, and to win, it felt like, all right this was time coming. It wasn't just all of a sudden, I was in bad form, won a golf tournament and all of a sudden you're like, okay, I played well that week.
I feel like I've been playing well and finally to cap one off, it shows and validates what we've been working on and stuff and the things that we have been doing since the U.S. Open has been paying off.
Q. As players, you build your legacies around the majors. What is it like to have so much riding in these three weeks? Team events, money, standings, whatever.
PATRICK REED: It's a lot. I think the biggest thing is PGA TOUR, The European Tour, what they have done now is they have made sure that it's not just the majors, not just the World Golf Championships. They are now having where you have Playoffs, FedExCup, Race to Dubai, their playoff events, and all the other events they play now mean a little bit more.
You know, before it was all like, okay, it was majors and World Golf Championships. Well, you can't just win the majors and the World Golf Championships to win a FedExCup. You know, you have to play well all year, and you know, they have definitely scheduled it now, backloading the schedule where the majors start and all of a sudden seems like you have a major or World Golf Championships every other week and then you get to the Playoffs.
They have put it in a position now where you have to be in good form in order to succeed. It's one of these things that you know, guys are going to go out and you're going to see more guys play in the fall, as well as earlier on in the year so they can kind of take a little bit of a break before the majors hit; so they are not so far behind.
You don't play in the fall, you're so far behind the guys in the FedExCup. I've been in that situation. It's not fun going to your first event and all of a sudden you're sitting there, 190th in the FedEx and you're like, wait, I haven't really played and these other guys are playing in the fall and you're 800 points behind.
Q. I feel like I'm missing one of your wins, but you go Barclays in 2016 and Bethpage up until Augusta to win. Then from Augusta until now. Is that probably the one area of your game, the next part that you'd like to get sorted out is winning more consistently without these long gaps?
PATRICK REED: Yeah, I don't like long gaps. It's not fun, you know what I mean. I've always played golf to win golf tournaments. I've always wanted to compete to win. I'm not really satisfied with a second, third, fourth, 10th place finish. I've always played events to win golf tournaments and any time I tee it up, trying to win.
To have those kind of long droughts is not fun, you know what I mean. Yeah, you'll have good finishes in there, but as a competitor, as a player, you ask any of the guys out here in the Top-10, 15 in the world, they would rather win a golf tournament than have eight second places. You know, they want to win golf tournaments. They want to be able to hold up trophies.
I feel like the longer that kind of -- that time period is in between wins, it just makes it tougher. You know, when I had that kind of long, drawn-out like kind of drought of not winning a golf tournament, I was pushing too hard and was trying harder to win and all of a sudden it was going the wrong direction. That's what my team was smart enough to tell me to back off, shut it down and reset and get clear, because we can finish the year right. We can get a couple W's coming in and in a better place starting the first week of the Playoffs.
Q. When you got a way from it all, what did you do to distract yourself?
PATRICK REED: Hang out with my wife and my little ones. You know, Windsor Wells and Barrett and I, we were in the Hamptons and we rented a house that we rented up in Shinnecock about nine acres of perfectly manicured grass. It's basically 310 yards long by 50 yards wide, a big field, and you had it cut down and we would wake up in the morning, go out there, run around, play tag, frisbee, kickball, whatever, just kind of hang out and do whatever they wanted to do.
It's crazy how fast those ten days go whenever you're having fun with the little ones. Those are moments that I'll never forget and I'll cherish more than any day stepping up and playing golf, that's for sure.
Q. How was the golf playing those days with Jimmy Dunne?
PATRICK REED: Felt great. Almost like I had a power surge. I was hitting irons farther than I thought and bunkers I didn't think I could get to. Played National first day back and No. 1 is a drivable hole, and I sat up there, got there 45 minutes where we teed off, hit a couple because and said, this is going to be rough. Because being a feel player, not picking up a golf club, it's almost going to feel foreign whenever I go back out and play.
Hit driver, six feet, tapped in for eagle, go to the next, okay, this is a good start. But that's just kind of one of those things that I felt refreshed and to take ten days off and to start it back by hanging out with the Dunne man and playing some golf and hanging out with Justine and playing rather than actually grinding when I was on vacation for those four days, was, I felt like, the right way to get back into it because it got me back into seeing golf shots rather than going to the range and grinding it out.
Q. This clubhouse couldn't be more different than the Augusta. Wondering your impressions?
PATRICK REED: It's unique. I've entered it now, three different ways. From basically down here, basically through the basement. I've entered it from up top, going to the normal clubhouse and for the Presidents Cup, I entered it from the ferry. It's awesome. I think it's a cool place. Cool clubhouse to come. You go out and stand up on basically dining, you see the 18th hole, the golf course, you look to the left and see the Statue of Liberty. Just an awesome setting.
You know, getting the nickname Captain America and being able to come here, see the golf course and see the Statue of Liberty is pretty sweet, it's a place that's special and close to my heart and I can't wait to come back.
Q. You mentioned a busy fall. Can you say some of the events you're going to play? Are you going to China and Japan, or is it all European Tour stuff?
PATRICK REED: It's a mixture. Honestly, I mean, we're still trying to figure out what we're going to be playing, like kind of actually nail down but definitely going to be playing China, play Zozo and CJ Cup and then of course hopefully Race to Dubai, the final is in Dubai. Going to play KLM, Germany and Wentworth. I know those for sure. And then of course, these Playoffs. But after that, I'll probably add six or seven more just so I make sure I play about every week coming in (laughing) it kind of seems like.
I think that's the hardest thing for me is I have to make sure that I'm able to monitor kind of my energy level playing on both tours. Because when this season stops, that other one, The European Tour is still going and it's a crucial time because you've got Playoffs there, as well. During the time there in the Fall Series and also during the fall when guys are taking breaks; if you're from the PGA TOUR I'm out there traveling the world and playing. It's one of those things that we didn't monitor very well last year and earlier this year it was something that we're going to definitely learn from from this year and monitor going forward.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports