By Larry Fine
CHASKA, Minnesota (Reuters) – Patrick Reed loves the Ryder Cup and its match play format, as he showed two years ago at Gleneagles, but he positively lit up when asked about working with Tiger Woods in preparing for this week’s competition.
Assistant captain Woods has been working with a pod of U.S. players at Hazeltine comprising Reed, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar, and Reed gushed about how generous the 14-times major winner has been and how much he has learned from him.
“The way his mind works on the golf course, it’s impressive and it definitely shows why he has won so much,” said Reed, who believed the experience would pay dividends in his career.
Reed, who went 3-0-1 as one of the bright spots for the losing U.S. side against Europe two years ago, had a special session with Woods during practice at Hazeltine.
“We played nine holes on the first day, and the whole group, it was so windy, they only wanted to play nine,” recounted Reed.
“I decided I wanted to go see the back nine, just walk the back nine backwards. He was like, ‘All right, well, let’s go.’ And he walked it with me, helping me figure out the golf course.
“You don’t get that very often. And to have somebody do that for you, especially a guy like Tiger Woods, meant a lot to me.”
Reed said Woods watched how he went about scouting the 18th and 17th holes before he chimed in, mentioning he had played the golf course before.
“He’s like, ‘Well, this green kind of slopes this way, so if you miss the green, the ball should kind of go there.’ He throws the balls over there and says, ‘This is where you need to be chipping and this kind of stuff.
“It was amazing. I learned so much just from that nine holes walking around that I felt like just that alone could save me so many shots throughout my career – just thinking about the minor details.
“It’s not rocket science,” Reed said. “It’s just actually knowing what to look for, and just the experience and expertise he has in sharing that with me this week has been awesome.”
(Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)