Being Patrick Reed means ignoring the noise

MEXICO CITY — The noise, at times, can be deafening, deflating. It is certainly distracting. Patrick Reed admits as much because it would be nearly impossible to say or do otherwise.

And so it was that Reed had not one but two grenades tossed his way this week in the wake of Sandy-gate in the Bahamas, the “cheating” scandal that continues to dog him.

For reasons of his own making, that controversy lingers, but Reed thrives amid chaos. We’ve seen it at the Ryder Cup and throughout the past few months, as he has endured his share of taunting and jeers from spectators, fellow competitors and commentators.

As such, it was only fitting that Reed emerged from the rubble on Sunday at Club de Golf Chapultepec, outlasting an all-star cast on the leaderboard to shoot a final-round 67 and capture the WGC-Mexico Championship by a shot over Bryson DeChambeau.

So much for karma.

“Really, at the end of the day, to me it doesn’t really matter,” Reed said of all the chatter that has engulfed him of late. “For me, it’s go out there and continue doing what I’m supposed to do, and that’s try to play the best golf I can, try to be the best person I can and try to set an example for the younger kids that are out here watching, as well as my kids that are watching back at home.

“If I feel like I’m doing that, that’s all I can ask for. I feel like I’ve been doing a good job of that, and hopefully everything starts smoothing out and going the right direction.”

Reed, 29, continues to be the subject of intense criticism over the Bahamas incident in which he was penalized for improving his line of play in a waste area, an infraction the led to a two-stroke penalty and a far harsher sentence in the court of public opinion.

He has been branded a cheater in some circles, a tough charge to live down and one made even more so by similar accusations that have followed him from his college days a decade ago.

Yet Reed won his eighth PGA Tour title Sunday, adding to a list that includes the 2018 Masters and two World Golf Championship titles, the first six years ago at this same tournament when it was played at Doral.

Back then, Reed declared himself a “top-five player” following that victory. It was a curious comment that now ranks well down the list of bizarre things attached to him.

For a time on Sunday, Reed appeared out of it, as Bryson DeChambeau birdied four of his first five holes on the back nine to take a seemingly commanding lead. Reed trailed by two on the 15th tee. But when DeChambeau three-putted the 17th green for a bogey, he left an opening that Reed took by birdieing three consecutive holes. A wayward tee shot by Reed at 18 led to the final one-shot margin of victory.

Afterward, DeChambeau — who has been the subject of his own level of controversy, mostly over slow play but also because of some of the quirkiness in his game — was the first to congratulate Reed.

“Because he’s a great player,” DeChambeau said. “There’s been a lot of stuff said in past years, I guess you could say, with him — and even with me. I feel like, unfortunately, sometimes we get quite a bad rap. And yeah, there’s things that we’ve done that haven’t been right, but we haven’t really gotten the best rap. We’re still trying to provide great entertainment for everyone. He’s a great player, and he’ll be a great player for a long time. And I have a lot of respect for his game.”

Earlier in the week, Brooks Koepka took a shot at Reed in a Sirius/XM interview during a promotional tour for the PGA Championship.

“I don’t know what he was doing, building sand castles in the sand, but you know where your club is,” Koepka said. “It’s one of those things where, you know, if you look at the video, he grazes the sand twice, and then he still chops down on it. … If you play the game, you understand the rules.”

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