Patrick Reed's turbulent rise

But ultimately, Reed made it clear he couldn't figure out what was required of him to remain at Georgia. Though Reed's father, Bill, confirmed the arrest "was one of the main reasons why Patrick left Georgia," Haack wouldn't elaborate on additional issues he had with his player.

"It wasn't a good fit for him here," the coach said. "He needed a change of scenery, and it worked out best for the both of us."

A number of Reed's teammates at Georgia either didn't return messages seeking comment or, when contacted, declined to speak publicly about the circumstances surrounding his transfer. English was one former Bulldog willing to talk about Reed's prodigious talent.

"I always knew he was a heck of a player," English said. "I played with him when I was 13, 14, 15. He was a world-beater growing up. When he came to Georgia, we were really excited because he was one of the best players in the country. Unfortunately things didn't work out, because we really could have used him on our team."

That would never be more apparent than it was two years later, when English came face-to-face with Reed with nothing less than an NCAA championship on the line.

Gregory had to beat out Florida and Wake Forest in the free-agent chase for the suddenly available Patrick Reed, and his pitch was simple: The big school experience didn't work for you. Time to give the small school back home a shot.

Gregory had actually played in the same field with the teenage Reed at the Terra Cotta Invitational, and he knew this was a prospect out of Augusta State's league. From 150 yards and in, Gregory thought Reed was as good a player as he'd ever seen.

"We could've won 10 national championships in a row," Gregory said, "and we're not getting that type of kid."

But on the rebound after Georgia, Gregory said, "Patrick needed a mentor figure around him all the time. He needed structure. He needed discipline. He needed someone to take care of him, quite honestly."

The tough love came early in the form of that suspension. One source close to the situation said players voted among themselves to have Reed removed from the team. "I don't think we had a vote," said Norlander, the No. 2 player behind Reed at Augusta State, now known as Georgia Regents University. "We had talked of having a vote."

Either way, Reed made the cut. "Golf is an individual sport until you get to college, and then it's a team sport," he said. "I was focused on me and my golf game and that wasn't helping the team. After sitting down with Josh, it helped me realize that it's not all me, me, me."

Reed made a renewed effort to connect with his teammates. "The first few months he was there, it was bad," Norlander recalled. "It got better."

Funny how it worked out, too. Gregory had teams with ideal chemistry, players who got along across the board, and they never won the big one. And yet there he stood in 2011, preparing his Jaguars to do something no team had done in more than a quarter-century -- repeat as national champs -- while coaching a superstar and a supporting cast that still hated losing to him in practice rounds.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...