SHANGHAI (AP) — The Asia swing is the rare trip where Patrick Reed’s wife doesn’t accompany him. She stayed in Houston because they’re finally moving into their new house at The Woodlands.
Not that Reed figures to spend that much time in his new digs.
American golfers are traveling more than ever, and the 26-year-old Reed is taking that to an extreme. He has played 66 tournaments in the last 24 months (including the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup), and as a long and tiring 2016 starts to wind down, Reed is just getting warmed up.
He played in Malaysia last week and is at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai this week. Next week is the Turkish Airlines Open, and then after a week at home, he heads to Dubai for the final event of the European Tour season. After a week back home for Thanksgiving, Reed is off to the Bahamas for the Hero World Challenge and then gets on another plane for the Hong Kong Open.
“And then 20 days before we head to Hawaii,” he said, with a grin.
The reason for this hectic schedule?
“I love to compete. I love to play,” Reed said on the practice range at Sheshan International, just three hours after his plane landed from Malaysia. “When I’m home, I’m just sitting there wishing I was out playing. Justine feels the same way. It might not be the best strategic way to get your ranking up, but at the end of the day, if you play well it doesn’t matter.”
Reed’s ranking really isn’t hurt that much by playing because there is a maximum of 52 tournaments that count toward the equation. He is No. 7 in the world, making progress toward that “top 5 player in the world” comment that attracted so much attention when he won the World Golf Championship at Doral two years ago.
Besides, he says he always wanted to be known as a global player.
He is going to Antalya next week, conceding that he didn’t know where it was (Turkey) while in college in Georgia. He couldn’t find Dubai on the map until he went for the first time last year to finish his first year as a European Tour member.
“I didn’t want to play only in the U.S.,” Reed said. “I feel it helps my game traveling overseas. I always wanted to see the world and get out of my comfort zone.”
Most top players limit themselves to about 22 tournaments a year, feeling as though they need time off to rest their body and mind. So far, Reed said keeping fresh has been the least of his worries.
“I’m stubborn. My mind is great,” he said. “If anything, the one thing I’ll work on is the body. The body can go in dips, and it breaks down my swing.”
This was his busiest year yet, partly because of the Olympics. Starting with the U.S. Open, Reed played 14 times in 16 weeks through the Ryder Cup. The only tournament he didn’t play was the Canadian Open. The other week was an open week before the Tour Championship.
“I’m tired this year,” he conceded. “But I’m still going to do it. I just have to get down when I have long runs and when I need my breaks. This year was unique because even during a week off, you were preparing for a big event. That made it difficult to shut anything down.”
RUSSELL RECOGNITION: Russell Knox won twice in the last year, starting with the HSBC Champions, and he is No. 20 in the world. And yet the 31-year-old Scot can still walk through a shopping mall without getting noticed.
As long as he doesn’t cut off his hair.
“I told my wife that sometimes when I shave my head, people think I’m Justin Timberlake,” Knox said Tuesday. “And she was like, ‘No, never. I don’t see it. I don’t think so.’ And that same day at the St. John’s Town Center, this woman runs up to me screaming. She gets five steps away and was, ‘Oh’ and walked away.”
Knox said golf fans around Jacksonville, Florida, recognize him more.
“Outside my home, barely anyone knows me,” he said. “And I’m fine with that.”
It wasn’t clear if Knox was joking when he added Phil Mickelson to that group. He talked about playing with Mickelson for the first time a few years ago at the Wells Fargo Championship, and later was asked if Mickelson knew he was.
“I still don’t think he knows who I am,” Knox said. “And I’m OK with that. Maybe he does. We’ve said, ‘Hi’ a few times. But he’s Phil Mickelson. I don’t care what I’ve done. I’m not Phil Mickelson.”
LEXI AND THE SHARK: Lexi Thompson has been added to the field at the Franklin Templeton Shootout, the first woman to compete since Annika Sorenstam in 2006.
Thompson is a seven-time winner on the LPGA Tour, including a major.
Jason Dufner and Brandt Snedeker are the defending champions Dec. 8-10 at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Florida. Among the newcomers to what used to be known as the Shark Shootout are Justin Thomas, Russell Knox, Kevin Kisner, Kevin Chappell, Smylie Kaufman and Bryson DeChambeau.
REMEMBERING ROMACK: Barbara Romack was a fixture at the U.S. Women’s Open, and a playful introduction was all anyone needed to know about her golf.
She was the player who never lost to the great Mickey Wright.
Wright lost to Romack in the California Girls’ Junior and the California Women’s Amateur. Romack rose to prominence in 1954 when she defeated Wright in the U.S. Women’s Amateur at Allegheny Country Club in Pennsylvania.
“She was my pigeon,” Romack once jokingly said of Wright, who became widely regarded as golf’s greatest female player.
They remained close friends over the years, and Wright was saddened to hear from the USGA that Romack died the weekend of Oct. 16-17 at age 83.
“I sort of looked up to her as a big sister,” Wright said in an email to the USGA. “She was great fun, always laughing, and what a marvelous amateur golfer she was. Fine swing and a great putter. Can’t believe she is gone, but she will forever be in my memories.”
Romack was at her best as an amateur, and she was the first woman golfer to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1956 when the magazine referred to her as a “little tiger” in promoting the Curtis Cup. Romack played on three U.S. teams.
She also won the 1952 North & South Amateur at Pinehurst, the 1953 Canadian Women’s Amateur and the California Women’s Amateur four times.
DIVOTS: Rory McIlroy wasn’t planning any equipment changes the rest of the year, though he is putting a TaylorMade driver and fairway metals in his bag for the HSBC Champions. … Graeme Storm made a bogey on the final hole of the Portugal Masters, costing him his full European Tour card. Only the top 110 after last week are exempt. Storm finished at No. 111 by 100 British pounds. … Phoenix-area golf fans have a unique 3-for-1 offer. Under a program called “Go Green Go Often,” they can buy a single-day pass for $50 that gets them into PGA Tour, LPGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions events. Those are the Charles Schwab Cup Championship in two weeks, the Waste Management Phoenix Open the first weekend in February and the Bank of Hope Founders Cup in March. … Doug Hawken is retiring Jan. 31 as president and chief operating officer of Ping. He worked 45 years for the Arizona-based clubmaker.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Hideki Matsuyama is No. 10 in the world ranking, the first Japanese player in the top 10 since Jumbo Ozaki in April 1998.
FINAL WORD: “You’re never happy being where you are. There’s always that next level to achieve.” — Russell Knox.