Media Center Interviews
April 19, 2017
Pre-Tournament Press Conference With Patrick Reed
MARK WILLIAMS: We'd like to welcome Patrick Reed into the interview room at the Valero Texas Open. You're a San Antonio native, born and bred and coming in here, I think this is your 4th start here and you're coming in off a runner-up finish last year this event.
What do you need to do to get across the line this year, Patrick, and how much would that mean to you if you actually managed to do that?
PATRICK REED: It would mean a ton. Be a win where were you born and at your home place. It's always nice. But, really, I just need to keep on doing what I've been doing all year and just keep on improving on all aspects of the game and if I put everything together, come Sunday I should have a chance coming down the stretch, and it's really all you can ask for.
MARK WILLIAMS: As we all know, you had a sensational Ryder Cup again last year and, since then, you've played a number of tournaments.
Have you been happy with the progress that you've been making? How is your form and what are you feeling?
PATRICK REED: It's been frustrating. I've been fighting a lot of equipment at the beginning of this year and I feel like I've made strides in my golf game to improve on mechanics and putting stroke and all that kind of stuff, and this past week it feels like I finally got over that hump to fine-tune and get all the equipment exactly where it needs to be.
Now it's just kind of go in there and play without -- with how I know how to play and go try to shoot some low numbers.
Q. Can you put in layman's terms what kind of equipment issues you were having?
PATRICK REED: You know, lies and lofts were off on the irons two to two and a half degrees, which is a lot. Because of that, it was making me have to alter my golf swing to get the golf ball to go straight.
When I was swinging well, all of a sudden I would look up and the ball is long and left. Consistently I'm, "What is it, is it me, what's going on?"
When you're on the road as much as you are you always think it's you, it's not the equipment, you know. I hate using that as an excuse, no, it wasn't me, the irons weren't set-up where they needed to be, et cetera, but this was probably the one time that I could actually say my equipment wasn't set-up how it's supposed to be for me.
Ever since we fixed that, it started trending in the right direction. It's taken me a little bit of time to get into the new driver. Playing on both Tours I didn't have an off-season which I like to do a lot of my work on the off-season with my new stuff.
Anytime you do it on the road it's a little longer than normal than if you were at home, put in 8, 9 hour days. It took me a little longer to get into the driver and making sure the patterns were matching up with the swing, and I finally feel like now I have all 14 clubs set exactly where they need to be where if I make the correct golf swing I know exactly where the golf ball is going. If I make a poor golf swing it does what it's supposed to do, either left or right depending on what mistake I make in the swing.
Now I could really start evaluating and kind of seeing how the golf game is and these past couple weeks I feel like it hasn't really reflected how I've been hitting the ball, how I've been improving with the way I've been playing. I'm looking forward to the week and hopefully getting off to the right start.
Q. How do you feel about playing here, Patrick? This is where you're from. You didn't grow up here but you were born here, lived here for several years. How do you feel about playing this event?
PATRICK REED: I mean I love it. To be able -- feels like home. So coming back home I get to go -- I love the golf course. I think it's a great golf course.
I get to be on a place I'm pretty comfortable with and it's always good to, you know, be able to hop in the car and drive three hours and be at the destination from Houston, just a three hour drive down the road, and we're going to have a pretty good following this week and have some fans out there, hopefully hit some good shots and get the momentum going and get the crowd going.
Q. Talk about your feelings about the course.
PATRICK REED: I think the golf course is great. It's a little softer this year because of that rain but -- normally it plays really firm and fast. A little softer. The rough isn't up as much as it was.
I think you'll see lower scores depending on what the weather is the rest of the week. But normally this place plays firm and fast, some decent rough.
It's a real challenge. It's all going to depend on the weather. I've heard that rain is supposed to come in tonight, possibility of chance of rain tonight.
The thing is, in Texas you never know. Literally at lunch you could say it's supposed to pour this afternoon and next thing you know an hour later it's supposed to be partly sunny.
Q. One more question, Patrick. Jimmy Walker was in here earlier and said he's been diagnosed with now Lyme's Disease. Have you talked to him about his -- it was thought to be mononucleosis for a long time. He's kind of been struggling. Have you talked to him and do you have any thoughts on his health issues right now?
PATRICK REED: First time I heard about it.
You know, the only thing I can hope for him is -- how great a guy he is, you hope the best for all players. You hope they're all healthy and they can come out and play and play to their full potential and the best they can.
So, you know, I mean for Jimmy I hope he can come out and play some good golf and also, you know, get healthy because -- anytime you get diagnosed with anything it's a scary moment and the good thing about here out on the Tour we're all kind of a family so we're all pulling for each other, especially when it comes to health.
Q. Do you do anything to prepare for the windy conditions out here and is there a particular shot that you focus on?
PATRICK REED: It's really hard to say I do anything differently because when I'm at home, I hit all different kind of shots, whether it's low shots, high shots, soft shots, left to right, right to left and I just -- I kind of work on all of them just because you just never know.
If it's soft you don't want to hit it low because the ball won't go anywhere. At the same time, if it's windy, you know, you want to hit it lower on the ground to try keep it out of the wind.
I've always just kind of practiced for every condition and that's just hit all the golf shots. You know, knowing being in Texas, probably going to blow at some point. So you just have to be ready for it and it's more -- I would say it's more of a mental thing than really a physical thing because all guys can hit all the golf shots. It's just more mental on being able to figure out how far it's playing and that kind of thing.
Q. Dustin winning the U.S. Open and Henrik and now Sergio, three guys that kind of spent time at the top of that best player without a Major list. What do you think of that concept, just best without a Major list and who would you say would be some of the guys that might be at the top of that list?
PATRICK REED: I'm not going to answer the last part of the question (laughter). But really, to be -- to be at the top in the World Rankings, whether you've won a Major or not, that means you have played consistently great golf and have won multiple golf tournaments, whether it's a regular event, World Golf Championship, Major.
To me to get to that point it's -- you have to do everything well every week no matter what event it is and, you know, to see Stenson and Sergio to close them off especially the way those two did it -- Sergio going out and him and Rose ran away with it.
They separated themselves from the field on Sunday and played some really solid golf coming down the stretch and, you know, with the way Stenson played battling out with Phil -- I played like two hours before them and that golf course was really tough.
I did not see a 63 and 65 out there like they did. For them to go out and play the type of golf they did to get their first win on a Major, it's awesome to see because, you know, as a player and competitor you would rather battle it out and play really good golf on Sunday down the wire to win a golf tournament, especially your first Major, than just kind of limping in.
Yeah, a win is a win but being a competitor that a lot of guys are they want to go ahead and win it by playing some really good golf. Those two guys showed the poise and patience and determination on Sunday to get that job done.
Q. Overall, would be a good thing to be on that list, I mean it's generally a good thing for your career, I guess, until you win a Major?
PATRICK REED: Yeah. You never want to be on that list, you never want to be the top player that hasn't won the Major but, you know, it's one of those things that to be able to make it in the Hall of Fame, to be able to be a household name and that kind of thing I would think you do need to have a Major underneath your belt.
There's the too much talent and too many good players out there to where if you just go and win a couple of events and, you know, couple Top-10s here and there you're going to get surpassed with how deep fields are nowadays.
Kind of what separates guys or World Golf Championships, who had won a World Golf Championship and who has won Mayors? Those are the events that separate the pack from great golfer, world class golfers to, you know, Hall of Fame golfers, and I would think to get in that Hall of Fame you do have to actually have a Major.
Q. Statistically speaking, the par-5s here are some of the toughest on Tour. In your opinion, how do these par-5s set-up compared to the rest of the stops?
PATRICK REED: I would agree to that. I would say they're probably the toughest par-5s we play all year. I wouldn't say they're -- it's hard to say the toughest because you can make any hole hard, but out here I feel like the hardest thing about this golf course on par-5s is none of them are reachable.
No. 2 -- No. 2 is not downwind, you can't reach 2. You can't reach 8. The only way you're reaching 8 if it's blowing a hundred downwind.
You're not reaching -- you can reach 15. That's the only one you can reach. That green is severely sloped and there's a lot of trouble around the green so I would say that's a little breather to have a chance.
But 18, I think that one day I was the only guy that knocked it on the green on one of the rounds and honestly that was probably one of the stupidest plays I've had all year trying to hit a 3-wood and hook it 50 yards with water I have to try to cover. I mean I only covered it by two yards, three yards.
So, out here you have to have absolute perfect conditions in order to be able to get the ball on the greens in two. A lot of these par-5s in tournaments we play there's at least two of them you can get to the green in two and usually one of them is with an iron.
I think they challenge us by length not really as much as difficulty.
Q. And also, plenty of excitement coming and playing in San Antonio. For us normal people, could you give us perspective on the things you have to balance and how intense it can be trying to get tickets and all of the other things that might not happen at other stops?
PATRICK REED: I think that's probably one of the hardest things is you have all your friends' texts and calling you wanting tickets. If they don't want tickets they're wanting to hang out. It's one of those things you have to have that balance and okay, yes, I'm at home but at the same time this is a work week.
So, you have to figure out your schedule, okay, what are my times I'm going to be able to hang out with people, what are times I'm not? How am I going to get tickets here and there?
Usually nowadays you just kind of all right, my agent, take care of this, here, you do the tickets, and my friends and stuff when they text us and family usually are hanging out and stuff usually Monday and Tuesday and once usually Wednesday comes, especially right after Pro-Am, you're shutting down and focusing on golf.
Q. Patrick, the winner here gets cowboy boots.
PATRICK REED: I need a pair.
Q. I was going to ask you what your ratio of cowboy boots to tennis shoes in your closet is right now.
PATRICK REED: 12 to 14 pair of cowboy boots to maybe -- well, I now have four pairs of tennis shoes. I got three from the Olympics so really only one that's not given to me from a golf tournament.
Yeah, I'd rather wear sweats pants and cowboy boots than sweat pants and tennis shoes.
MARK WILLIAMS: All right. On that note we'll finish up for the day and, Patrick, we appreciate you coming in and giving us your thoughts and all the best this week.
PATRICK REED: Appreciate it.