Patrick Reed, a discreet American star

Patrick Roseau PAUL CHILDREN / PANORAMIC

Present at the Golf National during the Cazoo Open de France, the Texan assumes his choice to have joined the controversial circuit of the LIV Golf Series. And don’t be surprised not to be welcomed with open arms by the European Tour

In Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines,

In a not so distant era, welcoming Patrick Reed, a winner of the Masters (2018), would have been an event for the French Open. The oldest continental Open, with a modest endowment this year (€3 million) had already won over big names like Justin Thomas and Bubba Watson in the past. But the European Tour, which organizes the tournament, did not roll out the red carpet for the American star of the 2022 vintage. His decision to join the LIV Golf Series, a dissident circuit financed with the aid of millions of dollars by the Public Investment Fund Saudi (PIF), does not leave indifferent.

Now persona non grata on the PGA Tour (American circuit), of which he was one of the most prominent members, the 32-year-old Texan is tolerated, but partly snubbed by the European circuit, of which he has been a life member for three respond. For example, he was not invited to the pre-tournament press conference and set off in virtual anonymity Thursday at 8:20 a.m. in the first games of the day with Johannes Veerman and Daniel Van Tonder, two modest players respectively ranked 189th and 195th in the world. In 2011, Bubba Watson said that he did not “ feel safe on the course “, because of the proximity between the public quite numerous at the time and the players. No worries, from this point of view, for Reed. Only a few curious were accompanied in the morning, this Thursday, at the National Golf. And his presence did not cause a big stir like in Wentworth, two weeks ago during this benchmark event on the European circuit, where he was heckled and even insulted by spectators. “Crowd came to watch some golf and were perfect “, underlines the Texan. The player with a sulphurous reputation, rarely leaves indifferent in the sanitized world of golf…

The San Antonio native, who wears his LIV cap on the course, claims to have the full confidence of his sponsors and does not feel any animosity among the members of the European Tour. “I play for the LIV and to support the European circuit. The players understand my choice and respect me. It’s not like I come and just play a European Tour tournament. I play several over a year. The French Open allows me to show my support for this circuit again.“He hammers:” We (those who chose to join the LIV) just chose to play on a different circuit that offers something new.“And a lot of money obviously, while playing less (Reed only has the obligation to play 8 tournaments this year on the circuit financed by Saudi Arabia and 14 next year).

And to fill these weeks without golf, more than to inflate his bank account, the American intends to play seven events on a continental circuit (excluding Majors and world championships). Present in France as part of the American team during the 2018 Ryder Cup, he knows that because of his choice to join the LIV, he can no longer compete in the legendary team competition, he who has been nicknamed “ Captain America “.

The Texan who points to 50th place in the world – he was still 9th ​​in July 2021 – is also in Europe to chase points because the LIV does not distribute any. Its members have also sent a letter to the world ranking committee to ask for the price based on the points they have obtained. “I am proud to come and play on the European circuit and a course that I loved“, he continues. If he is also in the Paris region to visit the Palace of Versailles with his family, Reed is therefore not only there for sightseeing. Fifth in Wentworth, the Texan approached this 104th French Open as a favorite. However, he had a very mediocre first day at Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. While down to -3 after 14 holes, he was completely stuck in the final sprint with a heavy +5 over the last four holes and a poor 73 (+2) card.

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