For Patrick Reed, Travelers is launch pad to Olympics in Rio
CROMWELL -- Patrick Reed, wearing a red shirt, blue pants and hat, and white shoes, proudly unveiled his USA Olympic golf bag at the Travelers Championship on Tuesday.
In attire and spirit, he is all about the red, white and blue.
"I'm obviously very excited to play for the Olympics, if you couldn't tell," he said. "I'm in red, white and blue. I'm debuting the Olympics bag [Tuesday] and carrying that this week; just really cool. Thought it would be great for the fans to see.
"Only time they'll see it is on TV at the Olympics, so I was glad to be able to pull it out and wear the colors proud this week. Be a lot of fun."
Reed was a popular figure at the range on the practice day at TPC River Highlands. He often signed autographs and posed for photographs with his Olympic bag on his way to the range and when he exited it.
"We got two boxes at home [in Houston]. I got the clothing that I am wearing for the actual tournament and then the golf bag," he said. "When I opened up that box, I was just like, 'Oh, my God, this thing is amazing. I can't wait to carry it.'
"All of a sudden when I arrived here [Monday] was when all the other gear was actually here on site. Opened that up and it was like a kid at Christmas. Just over there opening and showing every piece to everybody. It was amazing."
Reed has been an emotional, winning player with a 4-2-2 combined record for the U.S. in the 2014 Ryder Cup and 2015 Presidents Cup. "Anytime I can wear the red, white and blue l'm going to do that, and I'll be on the first flight," he said.
Reed is one of the four members of the U.S. Olympic golf team, which plays in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Aug. 11-14.
The Travelers Championship has two other U.S. Olympians in its field in Matt Kuchar and 2010 and 2015 champion Bubba Watson. Watson and Reed were next to each other smashing drives at the range on Tuesday.
The Olympic trio tees off at 1:25 p.m. off No. 1 in the first round on Thursday.
The fourth member of the team, Rickie Fowler, is not in the field.
After finishing in a tie for 13th in the PGA Championship on Sunday, Reed never wavered on his commitment to play in the Travelers Championship before the Olympics.
"This is my fifth appearance," he said of his consecutive showing. "And it's an event that I truly enjoy coming to. My wife [Justine] and I love the area. Love the support of the people. Love the golf course. ... We love to come and would love to continue to come for years upon years. ... I had it set in the schedule to come play before. At that time I wasn't in the Olympics. DJ [Dustin Johnson] kind of helped me out there."
The decision to not play in the Olympics by Johnson and Jordan Spieth, who were ranked Nos. 2 and 3 in the World Golf Rankings when the U.S. Olympic team was named on July 11, opened up spots for Reed (13) and Kuchar (15).
Reed, who ranks eighth on the PGA Tour earnings list with $3,351,084 and finished second in the Hero World Challenge and Hyundai Tournament of Champions, expects to fly to Rio de Janeiro Sunday night.
Reed said his favorite Olympian is swimmer Michael Phelps, who has 22 medals.
"What he has done is outstanding," Reed said. "Also grew up, and I remember watching speed skating a little bit. It was just so fast. At that point it was Apolo Ohno. It was crazy how fast they can race and turn on the ice. They make it look so easy, too. It's actually very hard. I used to skate a little bit when I was younger living in Pittsburgh. It's very hard, nonetheless trying to stop."
When Reed isn't playing golf at the Olympics, he said he wants "to see as many events as he can." At the top of his list is swimming.
"I know going to see swimming would be one of our top priorities," he said. "Justine, [caddie] Kessler [Karain] and the rest of their family are swimmers. They always swam through school. Now me, if they had doggy paddle in the Olympics I would win gold. I'm the best at that."
Reed would love to be the best, and winner of the Olympic gold golf medal.
"When I got the word I was able to carry the bag this week to show the fans, the Olympics bag, just the thought of that, putting the clubs in this [Tuesday] morning, adrenaline was going," he said. "I was thinking, 'All right, I'm going to go to the driving range and hit my first drive 350 yards down the fairway.' Of course, that didn't happen, but just kind of that mentality of being able to represent your country."