Reed makes the cut above uneasy family ties

Masters champion Patrick Reed, wearing his Green Jacket, watching an NBA game with wife Justine on Monday as LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers take on the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
Masters champion Patrick Reed, wearing his Green Jacket, watching an NBA game with wife Justine on Monday as LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers take on the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.PHOTO: REUTERS

AUGUSTA (Georgia) • It should be the most natural thing in the world for parents to weep when they see their children do great things.

But when Jeannette Reed shed her tears on Sunday evening after watching her son Patrick win the Masters, they flowed not with joy but with sorrow for the son that she had lost.

The Green Jacket was no sooner over Reed's shoulders than a revealing and remarkable story about his family breakdown appeared on golf.com, the influential and generally authoritative website.

Written by Alan Shipnuck, a respected sports writer, it detailed how Jeannette and her husband, Bill, watched the closing scenes of the 82nd Masters in their Augusta house, still rooting for the son with whom they have had no meaningful contact for the past six years.

It would be the understatement of the century to say that Reed, 27, had been carrying a bit of baggage when he turned professional in 2011.

From his earliest years, it was clear that he was a prodigious talent but, when he moved up to college golf, initially at the University of Georgia (UGA), it was just as obvious that he had character flaws.

PAINFUL PAST

His parents verbally and physically abused him for most of his life, abused alcohol and would get in fist fights with him in the parking lots after bad rounds.

JUSTINE KARAIN, Patrick Reed's wife, criticising his parents on Facebook.

There were allegations that he stole from fellow students and that he cheated on the golf course.

Reed has denied those claims - none of them have ever been substantiated - but it may be significant that none of his former team-mates has come to his defence.

The impression that emerges is that Reed was cocky and generally obnoxious, and UGA was happy to show him the door.

Reed took refuge at Augusta State University. Again, he did nothing to make himself popular despite dragging the historically underachieving school to two National Collegiate Athletic Association titles.

Around the same time, he met Justine Karain, a nurse who was four years his senior. They married in December 2012, when he was just 22.

Shipnuck reports that Bill and Jeannette had "misgivings" about their son marrying so young and, as a result, they were not invited to the wedding and contact since has been almost non-existent.

Bill and Jeannette have tried to heal the breach, but their overtures have been rebuffed. The feud reached a new low two years ago when Justine penned a Facebook post that was savagely critical of his parents, who she said, "verbally and physically abused him" and looked on him as a "meal ticket".

And yet, bizarrely, Bill and Jeannette still root for their son.

At his press conference, he was asked if it was bittersweet not to be able to share his triumph with his estranged family.

"I'm just out here to play golf and try to win golf tournaments," was his deadpan reply.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 11, 2018, with the headline 'Reed makes the cut above uneasy family ties'. Print Edition | Subscribe