The Masters: Unsurprisingly, social media shines light on Patrick Reed's chequered past
Patrick Reed is not the most popular guy.
He's no people's champion, either. Reed could win 10 majors during his career and never come close to being as loved as Arnold Palmer or Phil Mickelson.
To those who have followed the sport over the last five years, Reed's past transgressions aren't news.
Back in 2015, golf writer Shane Ryan published an excerpt from his book Slaying the Tiger: A Year Inside the Ropes on the New PGA Tour. In it, Ryan alleged that Reed cheated during a college golf team event. There were also accusations that Reed had stolen possessions from his teammates, including a watch, a wad of cash and a Scotty Cameron putter.
The excerpt from Ryan's book: “During a qualifying round prior to a tournament, according to sources, Reed hit a ball far into the rough. When he approached the spot, he found another ball sitting closer to the fairway, and was preparing to hit it when several of his teammates confronted him. Reed pled ignorance, but the other Georgia players were convinced he had been caught red-handed trying to cheat. That same fall, several items went missing from the Georgia locker room, including a watch, a Scotty Cameron putter, and $400 cash.
"When Reed showed up the next day with a large wad of cash, a teammate confronted him and asked how he’d come by the money. Reed said he’d played golf with a professor at the school and hustled him out of the cash. The player in question took this claim to the professor, who had no idea what he was talking about—it had been weeks since the man had played with Reed.”
Pretty juicy stuff. Reed denies that the aforementioned accusations were the reason he left UGA for Augusta State.
Beyond that, Reed has a notoriously fractured relationship with his family and, at times, has done little to endear himself to golf fans, including a particularly unsavoury incident when he called himself a "fucking faggot" after a three-putt at the WGC-HSBC Champions Event in November 2014.
He's always come across as brash and distant. His chest-pumping, shushing remonstrations towards European fans in the previous two Ryder Cups have certainly helped some quarters paint him as the pantomime villain.
Recently, Reed also rustled feathers among his fellow pros when, having been denied a free drop at a recent PGA Tour event, he said, “I guess my name needs to be Jordan Spieth, guys."
Now, Reed is 18 holes away from winning The Masters, but it's fair to say he might not be the most warmly-received champion.
After his brilliant 67 on Saturday ensured he enters the final round with a three-shot cushion over Rory McIlroy, Twitter, rather unsurprisingly, made references to his coloured past.
I just want to be on the record saying this. I am absolutely fine with anyone winning the Masters other than that loose shirt wearing, dough boy lookin ass, stealing tigers red swag, phony Patrick Reed. God I hate that guy.
— Bryan Ruef (@RAISEtheRUEF) April 6, 2018
Patrick Reed really trying to ruin this golf tournament for us.
— Riggs (@RiggsBarstool) April 7, 2018
Doesn’t shock me that Patrick Reed is stealing the show at The Masters; I mean he steals stuff all the time.
— Mac Addict (@Will_Elliott22) April 7, 2018
I'd be so pleased if Patrick Reed is putting on a green jacket come Sunday.........said no-one ever.
— Matt Holbrook Golf (@MattHolbrook86) April 6, 2018
Would Patrick Reed be the first to NOT get invited to the Champions dinner
— Joshua OKeefe (@JoshuaJOKeefe) April 7, 2018
Spent the day rooting against Patrick Reed. What an awful day.
— Gerry Callahan (@GerryCallahan) April 7, 2018
But I’m all honesty Patrick Reed was kicked of the UGA team for cheating on multiple occasions and stealing from Teammates
— Tator (@Tator_Thott) April 8, 2018
Dottie just said...of Patrick Reed's shot..."that would have been stealing..." - I see what you did there, Dottie. Nice!
— Rosemary E. Reehling (@rosemaryeleanor) April 7, 2018
Reed denying a Slam-chasing McIlroy would certainly be divisive. There can be no denying that he would be a worthy champion on the basis of his golf this week. Reed has been exceptional and it would be difficult to begrudge him his first major.
He may not win any popularity contests, sure, but isn't it a bit rich that, earlier this week, The Masters threatened to turn into a Tiger Woods love-in? It's interesting that golf fans will happily denounce Reed while they cheer on Woods, a man who has always been admired and celebrated, but not loved.
Reed has certainly produced enough quality to earn him that green jacket on Sunday evening but, make no mistake, the galleries will much rather see McIlroy or Rickie Fowler slipping into that coveted sports coat on the 18th green.
Of course, in the cut-throat, merciless world of Twitter, Reed's past was always going to be alluded to.