Patrick Reed’s wife had seen enough. With less than three weeks until her husband defends the Masters title, she could stand his poor play no more, so made an emergency call to a legendary English coach to fix the problem.
It is fair to say that David Leadbetter was surprised to be contacted by Justine Reed, particularly as Patrick – who he had never previously met – was still on the course playing his first round and knew nothing about it and already has a long-time coach.
But Sir Nick Faldo’s former coach lives in the Tampa Bay area and was at nearby Copperhead, host venue of the Valspar Championship. “Justine asked me, ‘Hey, would you be prepared to just have a little look at Patrick? He’s struggling at the moment, he’s sort of lost a little bit. Could you do that for us?’,” Leadbetter revealed. “I said, ‘Yeah, I’m here, sure I’ll do it. Absolutely.’”
The pair linked up for the first time on Friday morning, spending an hour on the range in Tampa. It did not produce immediate dividends, as Reed went on to shoot a 75 and miss the cut by nine strokes.
On the back of his final-round 78 at the Players last Sunday, this is a worrying time for Reed, who has failed to make a cut on United States soil since finishing fourth in the US Open last June. Leadbetter is not sure if they will work together again.
“Who knows?” Leadbetter told the Golf Channel. “I never hold my breath with these guys. I’ve been around long enough doing this. But he seemed to like it, so we’ll see how it goes.”
For his part, Reed did not think his wife’s intervention unusual in the slightest. “The great thing is we’re basically on the same wavelength, her and me,” Reed said. “Because of that, before I even finished my opening round I didn’t even have to tell her, ‘hey, is there any way we can get someone in to just take a peek?’.”
Reed is adamant his relationship with Kevin Kirk, the fellow Texan with whom he has worked since he turned pro in 2011, will not be affected.
“KK and I are really close and this has nothing to do with it,” Reed said. “I’m just trying to improve and get better every day and I was just trying to get a fresh perspective on the swing. I feel like the club is in a way better position now than it’s been, ever. I’m just hitting a couple of loose shots that are costing me some finishes I feel I should be having.”
Reed has one last event – the WGC Match Play, which starts in Austin on Wednesday – before the season’s first major and he will desperate to recover some form to avoid becoming the third defending champion on the trot to miss the Masters cut.
“I’ve just got to kind of reset and take a day or two off and get the energy back and get ready for the Match Play and Augusta,” Reed said.