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February 23, 2020
Mexico City, Mexico
MICHAEL BALIKER: We'd like to welcome winner of the 2020 World Golf Championships Mexico championship Patrick Reed to the interview room. It was definitely a grind out there. There was a lot of things happening on the board, but you were able to prevail with birdies on three of your last four. Take us through your day briefly if you could.
PATRICK REED: You know, it was an interesting day, to say the least. Going out and playing in the final group, especially with a guy like Justin Thomas, who was ahead by one and playing with Erik, who was tied with me, and for us to get off to a birdie start and then all of us seemed to get really flat, and I missed a lot of greens, had to just get up-and-down on the whole front nine.
And seeing all those birdies happen, Kessler was able to pull me back and say, hey, quit pressing, quit trying to go for everything, get the ball on the green, your putter has been working all week and let's leave it up to the putter.
I was able to do that. I was able to get one on the green and build some momentum, even though it was a par on 11. Made that putt. And then after that, the holes seemed to get a little larger and seemed to start making some putts.
Q. This brings you to No. 5 in the FedExCup standings. Talk about how this gets you into a good position in this early part of the season?
PATRICK REED: Yeah, that was huge because our goal coming into the year was to get a win before we got to Augusta, try to get that momentum going into our first major.
And to be able to get it done before we even get to the Florida Swing definitely feels great, and definitely gives me the momentum, not only in FedExCup but also kind of setting us upcoming into the other big events coming up and setting us up for the Playoffs.
You know, it's awesome to go out and get the win early, and now hopefully we can just continue to push through, keep grinding, and hopefully continue to put myself in these situations.
Q. Given some of the things that were said earlier this week, did you feel like you had something to prove this week?
PATRICK REED: I felt like I had something to prove to myself coming into this week because I feel like I've been playing some really solid golf and just haven't quite gotten over that hump to get the W, with losing in a playoff and then to feel like I played some solid golf at Torrey.
But then coming into this week, I knew we were in a good pattern and I knew all I needed to do was continue to try to improve on my golf game, but at the same time just block out all the noise, no matter what it was.
I feel like I've been able to do that really well throughout my career, and growing up I've always been able to kind of, when I get inside the ropes around the golf course, just focus on what I need to do, and that's play golf.
It's always satisfying to come out, especially in a World Golf Championship, and to be able to win, especially with how poorly I felt like I played last Sunday last year at this point.
Q. Before we get to the golf, do you like it when you feel like the world is against you?
PATRICK REED: I'm used to it. I mean, it doesn't -- honestly, it's one of those things that at the end of the day, all I can control is me and what I do on and off the golf course, and if I feel like I'm improving each day on and off the golf course and setting a good example for the next generation coming up, the children, as well as my own children, then that's all I can do, and I feel like I've been doing a good job of that, and I feel like I've been growing as a person and as a golfer, and that's all I can really do.
Q. Why do you putt these greens so well?
PATRICK REED: Good question. I don't know.
Q. What's the answer?
PATRICK REED: You know, actually I've always felt like I've putted pretty well on poa for some reason, and the only thing I can think of is I get those short putts, I've always been pretty good at playing the high side and kind of softer speeds, and I feel like when you get on poa, it all comes down to speed.
You need to have good speed on the greens because the last thing you want is three- and four-footers coming back every time, especially when they get bumpy. And at the same time, I'm really good at just kind of letting things go. If I happen to miss a putt, I don't dwell on it, and I never think about it moving forward, and also at the same time if I make a putt, I don't think about it when I'm going on to the next hole.
You need to have a very short-term memory when you putt on poa because you're going to hit some great putts that are going to miss and you're going to hit some bad putts that go in. I feel like I'm rolling it really well, and my eyes were working really well this week.
Q. 45 one-putts, does that seem kind of high to you?
PATRICK REED: I feel like I had 45 one-putts today because I missed every green.
Yeah, that's a high number out there, but that's what you're going to have to do to win golf tournaments. The fields these days are so deep, and then on top of it, the talent that guys have nowadays, you can't make three or four bogeys a round. You have to go out and have some one-bogey or bogey-free rounds, two bogeys out there. The only way you're going to do that is by making putts and getting up-and-down, having a lot of one-putts.
Q. You said a few minutes ago that you're used to it, the noise, and obviously there was some more this week. Is it coincidence that you win in a week like that, or do you thrive on it?
PATRICK REED: You know, for me, it's just -- the thing with me is I don't read really what's going on in the media. That's more my team that handles all that, and me, when I get out in a tournament week, the only thing I really read is I check up on the other sports that are going on at ESPN, and besides that it's usually Weather Channel, check the weather, and then usually it's watch some TV shows on TV.
You know, I really don't focus too much on what's going on in the media, especially tournament weeks, because you never know what's going to be said, even when it's other players talking about the golf course, and they're like, oh, we know this golf course is playing firm and fast or it's playing hard. Well, that's their assessment. Their ball flight might be different than yours.
You don't want to have kind of a mentality going into the week that, oh, it's playing really hard or playing really soft. You want to go out there and try to figure out your own game plan.
Q. First of all, the tee shot on 18, what happened, and how much of a struggle was it on that final hole?
PATRICK REED: Well, the tee shot didn't help. Yeah, you know, the fans this week, they were great most of the whole entire week. When we were all on 18 there, they were getting excited because they were coming out of the grandstands on 17. Someone had like a coughing attack and literally it started right in the middle of my backswing and probably didn't stop for about 15 seconds after that.
Yeah, I hope the person is all right, but just perfect timing, caught me right in the middle of my swing, and luckily all I needed was bogey to win the hole, win the golf tournament.
I've been over there before even when it's been quiet, so I kind of knew when I got in that position over there, chip it back to the fairway, hit it on the middle of the green, two-putt to win the golf tournament, and I didn't need anything special on the last. Just don't have any catastrophic explosions.
Q. Earlier this week you said that the noise had bothered your team. How much had it bothered your team?
PATRICK REED: You know, for me, it didn't bother me at all. I'm on the golf course. I'm focusing on what I need to do. My team knows that when I'm playing in tournaments that they know that I'm kind of in my zone doing my thing. I'd have to talk to my team later on to see how much it bothered them or not because when it's tournament week, it's me going out there, playing golf, and then after that I just go ahead and FaceTime back home to see the little ones, and that's about it.
Q. Where do you get your golf news?
PATRICK REED: Usually from my team.
Q. Do they tell you what's going on?
PATRICK REED: Yeah, of course. My team always keeps me in the loop on what's going on. Off weeks I might look at some stuff here or there. But a lot of times, I always open the PGA Tour app and European Tour app, so I see who wins golf tournaments, who didn't, who's playing well and who's not.
I don't really read much about what's going on on the golf, because for me, I need to stay true to who I am, and that's play my own game. And when I first came out here, I was so engulfed in what everyone else was doing, how the top players would play the game, and it would get me away from my game plan and how I would play the game of golf, and when that happens, it just kind of takes you away from your blueprint and who you are.
It seemed to not work very well right in the very beginning, when I turned professional, and I was able to sit down and say I need to go out there and just be me, and that's what got me to this position, is being who I am and how I play. And with doing that, I was able to kind of get back on track.
Q. Leading the Race to Dubai, by the way.
PATRICK REED: Am I?
Q. Absolutely. 16, that looked like a pretty special shot left and around the tree. I wonder if you could take us through your club and what you were trying to do.
PATRICK REED: Yeah, you know, on 16, we were in between 3- and 4-iron off that tee, but I felt like I was overswinging. I was clubbing down too much and overswinging all day, so I decided to go with a 3-iron, and happened to hit it too far, and the tree was -- the trees on the left were literally right on the edge of the flag, so I knew I had to start at the right edge of the green, and it was a perfect kind of like really soft pitching wedge number, but with the ball kind of hanging below my feet and with the wind if anything a little off the left, we didn't feel like I could get it there.
Kessler is like, hey, how hard can you hit 51? I was like, well, I can hit it pretty hard. And I've always been good at being able to kind of shut it down and get it to come out a little quicker. It was just perfect for me to swing hard and hit a draw, draw 51, and I was able to kind of hit perfect contact.
And then at that point I didn't know where it went because I was looking straight in the sun, and then I heard people clapping, and I knew at that point it was at least on the bottom level.
Q. Having won this event, much different formula, different golf course, how are you different as a person and as a player?
PATRICK REED: I think the biggest thing is I've grown as a player. I've not allowed too many things to bother me, the highs and lows in golf, especially through a round of golf. You know you're going to get bad -- when I first came out and stuff, I would get upset on bad breaks, bad bounces, bad rounds, bad shots, or I'd get way too excited on good shots and stuff like that. So there was just too much of a high and low going on. That just doesn't sustain through time.
I'm able to now kind of grow and just allow the highs to stay there but kind of bring them back, and then allow the lows just not to get me down that much.
You know, at the end of the day, I feel like I've of course worked really hard on my short game as well as my -- I feel like I've worked hard on my driving, as well, and I would say from last time when I won at Doral, the biggest difference is I'm driving the ball better, I'm more concerned, and my short game is on point.
Q. At a time when everybody is trying to control their energy, you're still playing a lot and you still have your energy and your stamina. What's your secret?
PATRICK REED: You know, for me, I think the biggest thing is I have such an awesome team around me. With what my wife does, what my mother-in-law does, what my managers do, and with what Kessler does as a caddie and what my coaches do, all I literally have to do is show up, play golf, go back, rest, hang out with the little ones. There's not a lot of extra just kind of energy being burnt throughout weeks, so I'm just allowed to sustain and play longer.
Now, my coach and I, we've found out a pretty good game plan that allows me to go out and play four, five weeks in a row where we have practice schedules where I stay sharp and at the top of where I'm supposed to be playing, but allows me to still continue to play at the highest level my fourth or fifth week.
Which is hard to do because when you come out here, you always want to practice, practice, practice to get ready for the week, and then by Sunday you're pretty tired and pretty burnt out, so I couldn't imagine trying to go for a second, third or fourth week.
Q. Was it tough here with the conditions and the altitude?
PATRICK REED: Oh, for sure. I mean, I don't think I've ever had to play such a fast front nine in the first three days. We turned in 2:12 and 2:14, and we got put on the clock on hole 10 because they wanted us to turn in 2:06. I felt like we were running up the hills to play the first three days.
It's tough. It's basically like conditioning out there. When you're at altitude and when you're going up hills, it takes the breath out of you, and you just know how to kind of calm yourself down, get the heart rate down quick enough to be able to execute a good golf shot and the shot you're trying to hit.
Q. I know it's a long way off, but where does the Olympics rank for you in terms of making it there, and could you just speak to how hard it is to qualify for one of those four spots for the U.S. side this go-around?
PATRICK REED: Yeah, any time I can represent the United States and wear red, white and blue, I'm all in. It's always on my radar. Yeah, I'd say to get one of those four spots is really hard. That means you have to play absolutely amazing golf throughout not just a year or just a short period of time, you have to do it for two full straight years because you look at the guys that are up there, you've got Brooks, DJ, Justin, Tiger, Cantlay, Xander, I mean, the list goes on. It just keeps on going on and on.
When you have a list like that, you know you have to go out and continue to play well. You can't go into weeks and just waste weeks. You can't go and finish 30th, 40th, 50th and move up. You're actually going to go the wrong direction. You have to not only play but you have to play at the highest level, every week, week in and week out.
That's what makes it so special. That's what also makes it to special representing your country and going and playing a golf tournament.
Q. You speak a lot about the support and the team that you have around you. I'm curious, do you have any players that you lean on out here, advice-wise?
PATRICK REED: I talk to Tiger quite a bit, Bubba always, Bryson. I mean, a lot of the guys I've been on Ryder Cups, Presidents Cups teams, we talk quite a bit. That's just one of those things that when you see them during the week, it's a lot easier talking to them, but with me, with how much I travel overseas as stuff, it's hard to talk to them as much texting back and forth, but we definitely keep in touch.
Q. What is your schedule leading into the Masters?
PATRICK REED: Everything. I'll take next week off, and then I'll play the whole Florida Swing, the rest of the Florida Swing, Match Play, week off, then Augusta.
Q. So no San Antonio?
PATRICK REED: No.
Q. I'm really curious, going back to the start of the week, what happens next time you run into Brooks? What happens next time you're paired with him or something like that? How do you deal with situations like that?
PATRICK REED: I put the ball on the ground, and I just hit my next shot.
Q. Is it awkward at all?
PATRICK REED: No, not at all. I mean, it's BK. I mean, at the end of the day, we go out there, and the only thing we can control is what we do on the golf course, just go play golf and play the best we can. It doesn't matter if it's any of the guys, Brooks, Rory, DJ, Tiger, any of the guys. You're going out and playing golf.
Those guys are in your group, you know you have to step up and play the best golf you can because you know how high caliber the guys are. You just go out there and play the best golf you can, and hopefully you're on the right side of it.
Q. Do you ever take anything personal?
PATRICK REED: No.
PATRICK REED: No.
MICHAEL BALIKER: Patrick, thank you for the time, and congratulations.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports