Patrick Reed’s “outspokenness” — or rather his choice of words — got him into trouble during the first round of the HSBC Champions in Shanghai. After missing a six-footer on the first hole (his 10th of the day), he muttered to himself, “Don’t f***ing three-putt you f***ing f*ggot.”
Following the second round at Sheshan International Golf Club, the 24-year-old American spoke with reporters and apologized for his outburst, which was picked up by the TV camera and microphone for the world to hear.
“Yesterday, I made a stupid error,” Reed said. “Sorry for definitely the words that I said and everything that went on. Never should have happened. Unfortunately, it happened to me, and all I can do is just learn from it and move on, hopefully continue playing well and keep giving fans something to watch.”
Reed didn’t remember what he had said after the round. It was only when he was told and the clip began making its way across the interwebs that he realized he had messed up big time. As the AP reported, Reed reached out to Bubba Watson (“of all people”) for advice. (Watson tweeted his support for ESPN analyst Chris Broussard, who called homosexuality a “sin” after NBA player Jason Collins came out last year.)
Watson was caught dropping f-bombs on camera during the PGA Championship this past summer.
“He came to me last night and said that, ‘Hey, I did something bad,”‘ Watson said. “He showed me the clip. I said, ‘Yeah, that’s not good.’ That’s all I could say. … It’s sad it comes out, but just like I said before in my own personal problems, that’s how you learn from it. That’s how you become a better man, and that’s what I told him. ‘Your daughter is not old enough yet, but when your daughter gets older, you don’t want to speak out like that.’ And it’s the same thing with me.”
Reed huddled with his handlers following his 73 in the second round on Friday before facing the media, according to the AP.
“It’s something not to be proud of, and something that you definitely can’t have happen,” Reed said. “Unfortunately, it got the best of me yesterday, and all I can do is not let it happen again.”
Players who are caught cursing are usually fined by the PGA Tour, although it does not disclose its disciplinary action. The Tour issued the following statement on Thursday:
“The PGA Tour Conduct Unbecoming regulations prohibit the use of obscene language on the golf course,” a statement released later in the day said. “The PGA Tour will deal with this matter internally in accordance with its regulations.”
Reed’s fellow Tour players seemed quite forgiving of his foul language, but perhaps they were missing the point that the uproar didn’t have to do with his cursing.
36-hole leader Graeme McDowell said he receives text messages from his mother when the telecast catches him swearing.
“My mom is under some illusion that I don’t swear,” he said. “Like I say, golf is a four-letter word. It’s a frustrating sport. Yes, we use language that we shouldn’t on national television, but that’s the same in any sport.”
McDowell, who was playing with Reed, didn’t know about the incident until he watched the Friday morning news in China.
“Yes, he shouldn’t have said it. But is he unfairly dragged across the coals? Who knows? You could argue both sides of the story,” McDowell said. “I don’t have an opinion on it. Guys say things all the time out here.”
Ian Poulter’s thoughts on the incident were also rather indifferent.
“I’ve done it in the past. It’s difficult, isn’t it?” Poulter said. “The microphone is there, live TV, its broadcast around the world. We all make mistakes.”
No one cares that Reed, a public figure, used profanity, aka the f-bomb (at least I don’t). It’s the other f-word that has turned his tantrum into a controversy. Instead of berating himself using a gay slur, couldn’t he have replaced it with “idiot” or “moron” or numerous other alternatives that wouldn’t have been bigoted and offended a fair portion of the population. There are apologists who have said, “He was talking to himself, what’s the big deal?” Those people have completely missed the point and are probably bigots themselves. Reed’s outburst included a gay slur, a despicable word, which he uttered with such venom. (FYI, the f-word [not f*ck] is similar to using the n-word.)
Reed blamed his choice of words on his passion.
“The passion I have for the game is never going to change,” Reed said. “And the drive to play well and win is never going to change. It’s just if I’m ever going to get upset at myself, especially after a Ryder Cup and at the level of golf I’m playing nowadays, you can’t have outbursts. Unfortunately, I did, and happened to be on camera.”
Again, it seems like everyone is missing the point — you can have outbursts. It’s golf, it happens. It’s frustrating. You get caught in the heat of the moment. The problem in this case is Reed’s choice of words that he used to berate himself. It’s not about being “politically correct.” It’s an utterly hateful word that’s laced with bigotry. And that’s the problem here. But it just falls under another example of golf’s long history of exclusion and prejudice. The Tour is only making it worse by once again not disclosing the disciplinary action that Reed is facing.
You’re likely not surprised to know that there’s not a single golfer (or caddie) who is an open homosexual on the PGA Tour. I wonder why. Given the sheer odds in numbers, there has to be at least one closeted gay player, but don’t expect him to come out anytime soon. I mean, could you blame him?