Patrick Reed admits he was in a ‘dark place’ in hospital with double pneumonia

‘The only thing that was going through my mind is I’m not going to be able to tell my kids goodbye’

Patrick Reed of the United States plays a shot on the first hole during the first round of the Tour championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia. Photograph: Kevin C Cox/Getty Images)

Patrick Reed of the United States plays a shot on the first hole during the first round of the Tour championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia. Photograph: Kevin C Cox/Getty Images)

 

Patrick Reed has revealed he was in a “dark place” after being hospitalised with double pneumonia and warned it could prove fatal.

Reed, who missed the first two FedEx Cup playoff events, said he had been “battling for my life” in Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas after returning to action with a two-over-par 72 in the first round of the Tour Championship.

“I think I was in there for five or six days. I don’t know exactly how long,” the former Masters champion told reporters at East Lake. “I don’t remember the exact timeframe I was actually in the hospital, but it felt like an eternity.

“First couple days they were sitting there telling me that make sure you text your family quite a bit, talk to your family, because you just don’t know. I mean, this is not good. We’re not in a good spot right now.

“With how the hospitals are these days because of Covid and everything that’s going on, it doesn’t matter what’s going on. They won’t allow people in there, so it’s only you in there.

“So I’m sitting there and those first two days the only thing that was going through my mind is I’m not going to be able to tell my kids goodbye. I’m not going to be able to tell them I love them. I’m not going to be able to tell my wife that I love her and give her a hug.

“It definitely puts you in a dark space when you’re in there, especially those first two days. But I’m so happy to have such an amazing team and such amazing doctors that were working with me to get me through it and to get me working in the right direction on the way up.

“And to think that I’m able to be here and play, I really felt okay. I mean, it’s a little frustrating not having the speed, not being able to hit the shots and really feel certain things quite yet, but I took a ton of time off.

“I mean, I was battling for my life. I was in the hospital. And the good thing is now I can hit the ground running hopefully.”

Reed admitted he would not be playing in Atlanta if not for the need to impress Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker and earn one of the six wild cards which Stricker will name on Sunday.

“The biggest thing is, talking with Stricks and stuff, is just making sure I’m healthy and I think the biggest thing for me this week is just to see kind of where I’m at,” Reed added.

“And I know by Ryder Cup my game’s going to be where it needs to be, as long as I feel like my health is where it needs to be and as long as I feel like I can sustain through rounds of golf.”

Patrick Cantlay is certain to be at Whistling Straits after his victory in the BMW Championship secured the final automatic qualifying place and also took him top of the FedEx Cup standings.

That meant Cantlay started the Tour Championship with a two-shot lead on 10 under par, a lead he maintained thanks to an opening 67 on Thursday.

World number one Jon Rahm replaced Tony Finau as Cantlay’s nearest rival, the US Open champion playing his last seven holes in four under par in his 65, while Finau fell seven shots off the pace with a 72.

Bryson DeChambeau and Harris English were five off the lead on eight under, English making a hole-in-one on the 15th and birdies on the next two holes in his 66.

Rory McIlroy watches his ball after hitting from the trees off the side of the fourth fairway during the first round of the Tour Championship at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia. Photograph: Erik S Lesser/EPA
Rory McIlroy watches his ball after hitting from the trees off the side of the fourth fairway during the first round of the Tour Championship at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia. Photograph: Erik S Lesser/EPA

For a time, it looked as if Rory McIlroy was in the mood for some wizardry. Like on the par-four fourth hole, where an errant drive finished up amid the trees and he conjured up a shot from a bare lie some 166 yards from the pin that somehow landed on a downslope on the green and the ball rolled to within 10 inches for a tap-in birdie.

McIlroy’s front nine charge, which saw him turn in 32 strokes, came apart on the homeward run where birdies turned to bogeys and he ultimately signed for an opening round two-under-par 68 which moved him to four-under under for the tournament in the staggered starting scoring system.

McIlroy, a two-time winner of the FedEx Cup, in 2016 and again in 2019, started the finale to the 2021 PGA Tour eight shots behind Cantlay and went about his business with vigour in attempting make inroads.

In making a hot start, McIlroy hit his tee shot to the par-three second to 10 feet and rolled in the putt and, then, on that fourth hole, he produced that moment of magic in firstly assessing his lie and possible escape route through the trees in producing an exquisite shot that found the front of the green and rolled down to 10 inches for a tap-in birdie.

Then, on the eighth, McIlroy hit an approach from 161 yards to 12 feet and rolled in his third birdie of the round. If there was any blip on that outward run, it was a failure to birdie the par-five sixth where a poor drive into rough put him on the back foot and settling for par after his 35 footer for birdie never threatened the hole.

After moving up the leaderboard, and threatening to become a serious contender, McIlroy’s homeward run was akin to someone who had lost their way. Where he was honed in for much of that front-nine charge, his game deserted him on the back nine as he suffered bogeys on the 13th, after a wild drive, the 15th and the 16th.

McIlroy made a birdie from a greenside bunker on the 18th hole and his look at the death was one of a player who had let an opportunity slip in seeking to make inroads.

“It could have been really good. I was four under through 10, missed a good opportunity on 12 to get to five, and then from there I just sort of went on a little bit of a bogey run, bogeyed three of the next four, and it was nice to birdie the last.

But yeah, I’m going to go to the range here and work at it. I didn’t drive the ball particularly well and when you do that, I actually got quite lucky a couple of spots that I hit it off line, I was able to make birdies from a couple of those, so just need to try to put it in play a little more tomorrow,” said McIlroy.

Leaderboard

(USA unless stated, Par 70):
-13
Patrick Cantlay 67

- 11 Jon Rahm (Esp) 65

-8 Bryson DeChambeau 69, Harris English 66

- 7 Cameron Smith (Aus) 68, Justin Thomas 67, Viktor Hovland (Nor) 66

-6 Tony Finau 72, Kevin Na 66

-5Abraham Ancer (Mex) 69, Jordan Spieth 69, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 68, Dustin Johnson 68, Jason Kokrak 67, Brooks Koepka 67, Billy Horschel 65

-4 Rory McIlroy (N Irl) 68, Xander Schauffele 68, Corey Conners (Can) 67, Scottie Scheffler 67

-3 Sam Burns 71, Collin Morikawa 70

-2 Sung Jae Im (Kor) 71, Sergio Garcia (Esp) 68

-1 Erik van Rooyen (Rsa) 69

+1 Stewart Cink 72, Joaquin Niemann (Chi) 72

+2 Daniel Berger 72, Patrick Reed 72

+6 Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 77

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