Final question of Ryder Cup press conference has Team USA in all sorts of trouble
The temperature in the media tent went up a few degrees.
Whenever they lose - and they've lost 9 of the last 12 Ryder Cups - the Team USA press conferences are always a compelling watch.
So so many superstars, entourages, coaches, family members, friends and advisors in the American mix, winning can be crowded and losing can see fissures appearing quick enough. In 2014, at Gleneagles, Phil Mickelson took a cut off Tom Watson as Tom Watson sat mere feet away from him.
On Sunday, at Le Golf National, the topic of Jordan Spieth's defunct partnership with Patrick Reed set tongues wagging. Having crushed most foes in 2014 and 2016, Spieth and Reed were split up for this year's competition.
Spieth flourished with Justin Thomas but Reed went 0-2 with Tiger Woods and had a shocker on Saturday. Justine Reed, his wife, suggested it was Spieth that did not want to play with this year's Masters champion.
At their final press briefing of this year's Ryder Cup, the issue of Spieth and Reed not playing together cropped up. It was the final question of the night and it created quite a stir.
Spieth and Reed locked eyes and shared a smile but their eyes, and demeanour, made it clear discussions had taken place. Spieth managed a few words but Reed was cut off before captain Jim Furyk stepped up.
Spieth and Reed were asked how they felt about their pairing (4-1-2) being split up, and both looked at one another and smiled for several seconds. Spieth answered. Furyk jumped in. Both said pleasant things. Reed looked like he wanted to answer too, but his silence said plenty.
— Kevin Van Valkenburg (@KVanValkenburg) September 30, 2018
You can see from these screengrabs (below) how both men initially reacted to the query.
Here is the full Q&A exchange from what turned out to be the final question, for Team USA, of a Ryder Cup they lost 17.5 to 10.5.
REPORTER: Patrick and/or Jordan. You guys had quite a bit of success in the past playing together. Just curious if either of you were surprised that you didn't play together this week, and did that topic ever come up?
PATRICK REED: (Looking at Jordan; Jordan looking back at Patrick, both smiling).
JORDAN SPIETH: No, we weren't... we were totally involved with every decision that was made.
This was a... Jim allowed it to be a player-friendly environment, and we were involved and we thought that the teams that came out of our, you know, four-man squad, what do we call it, fire team... what is it, Tiger? We thought that we had two teams... too tired to talk, Tiger.
We had two potentially fantastic teams, and we went out and -- we went out confidently and tried to play our best.
JIM FURYK: If I may, we put all four of those players out together in practice for most of the week, I think two of the three days.
They were always a grouping, and I talked about it in the press room after the first day of pairings; we felt like we've got two really good pairings. Jordan and Patrick have been great in the past. I felt like, you know, whether that's a point of contention or not, I felt like we had two great pairings out of it.
So it was totally my decision and my call, and I think I had a few of you tell me that - I think someone used the word, it was a gutsy - they might have said something else, but a gutsy call or a gutsy play, but the one I thought it was the right thing to do. It was my call.
Furyk taking one for Team USA.
He got a few calls wrong in Paris but his final act as captain was a noble one.