ATLANTA – Patrick Reed shot a 2-over 72 in the first round of the TOUR Championship at East Lake in his first start since being hospitalized with double pneumonia.
He made four bogeys and two birdies in his first action in nearly a month.
“My energy was OK,” Reed said. “My speed is not there yet, obviously. Where I really notice it is kind of on iron shots and on setting up and having to hit an exact number, it just seemed to be a hair off. But the good thing is my short game didn't leave me.”
Reed, who hasn’t played since the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational (T31) in Memphis, missed the first two greens in regulation but got up and down both times to save par.
He planned to take some time off to get healthy after injuring his ankle in Memphis, but wasn’t home long before he was diagnosed with pneumonia in both lungs. He missed the first two events of the FedExCup Playoffs, the THE NORTHERN TRUST and BMW Championship, after being hospitalized.
“I went in Thursday of NORTHERN TRUST,” Reed said. “I was in there for, it felt like I was in there forever. I think I was in there for five or six days.”
Asked if his life was ever in danger, he didn’t hesitate.
“Oh, yeah,” he said. “No, 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.”
What made it tougher was he was alone, what with COVID limiting hospital visitors.
“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,” Reed said. “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.”
He was given the go-ahead to fly and be at cabin pressure starting Monday, he said. He’s still doing breathing exercises to try and clear his lungs, he added. Still, at least he’s playing again.In need of a pick from U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Steve Stricker, who will make his six selections next week, Reed hit just six greens in regulation but was 8 of 12 in scrambling.
His health didn’t hinder him, he said. And he felt optimistic looking forward.
“I'm just getting stronger every day,” he said. “I look forward to tomorrow going out and hopefully continuing to hit fairways. I hit 10 fairways today and if I continue doing that and playing from the short grass out here, we're going to start dialing in the irons and keep the short game sharp and make some putts.”