A jerk named Patrick Reed won the Masters.
That’s the take on the Interwebs the morning after holding off the charge of Rickie Fowler and several contenders to win his first major championship.
If only putting on the green jacket and posing for a few congratulatory photo ops was the end of the feel-good story. Or if we could simply move on from Reed’s curt “I’m just out here to play golf and try to win golf tournaments,” answer on Sunday and ignore everything else.
Reed’s journey to golf’s promised land is complicated, traversed through issues in college, an estranged family, and a wife in the idle of the crossfire.
It explains why the response from the gallery was muted on Sunday. And why he got torched on Twitter. Reed is a tough guy to embrace.
His story is one that can’t be ignored, no matter what the scorecard says, and no matter how many fans want to cling to the tired cliche “stick to sports” when circumstances venture out of bounds.
They most certainly do with Reed, who played a year at the University of Georgia before he was dismissed from the team. Some reports say it involved accusation of cheating. Reed has said it involved alcohol violations.
But the most disconcerting personal tidbit involves his family. Reed has been estranged from his parents and younger sister for a number of years, the root of the problem apparently stemming from his parents disapproving of his marriage to a woman who was four years older than Reed. The age disparity was even more complicated because Reed was only 22 when he married his wife, Justine.
Despite attempts to reconcile, they are still on the outside looking in, watching Reed win from their home in Augusta. Bill and Jeannette are not welcome, and were once escorted off the grounds of a tournament in 2014, based on the wishes of Justine. This incident, and other background involving the sad family history, is documented in a fabulous piece by Alan Shipnuck on golf.com.
Family is always complicated. And the proverbial two sides to every story come into play.
As outsiders looking in, much like Bill and Jeannette Reed, we are left with what to make of this.
Is it none of our business? Fair game for the media?
I believe it leads us back to “it’s complicated,” but certainly worthy of our attention.
Nobody lives in an insular world anymore. Just ask Twitter and Facebook. When you win a life-changing sporting event, private becomes public in a hurry.
If Patrick Reed has a problem with it, he is left with a handful of choices.
Stop playing great golf.
Or try to reconcile the great divide between a broken family.
ABOUT THE WRITER
George Diaz is a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel.
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