Northern Trust Golf

With the New York skyline in the distance, Patrick Reed walks off the 15th green at the Northern Trust golf tournament at Liberty National Golf Course, Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019, in Jersey City, N.J. Reed won the tournament. 

Patrick Reed is one of the PGA Tour’s most notorious grinders, but some crucial time off may have led to him snapping a post-Masters victory drought Sunday.

After missing the cut in May’s PGA Championship at Bethpage Black on Long Island, New York, the same place where he won The Northern Trust tournament three years ago, Reed took off 10 days without touching a club and spent three weeks away from the Tour.

For Reed, not swinging a club for 10 days is like 10 days without breathing. But it may have been what paved the way to his victory Sunday in this year’s Northern Trust tournament at Liberty National in Jersey City, New Jersey.

“I don’t like long gaps” between wins, Reed said. “The longer that time period is, it just makes it tougher. I was pushing too hard and was trying harder and all of a sudden, it was going in the wrong direction.

“My team was smart enough to tell me to back off, shut it down and reset. Because we can finish the year right. We can get a couple ‘Ws,’ and no better place than starting the first week of the playoffs.”

The seventh career PGA Tour victory for the 29-year old former University High standout was his first since the 2018 Masters. And it came at a crucial time to put him in the thick of the hunt for the FedEx Cup title and a berth on this year’s U.S. Presidents Cup team.

The win vaulted Reed into second place in the FedEx Cup standings going into the second of three playoff tournaments, the BMW Championship at Medinah Country Club near Chicago. It also locked up a spot for Reed in the season-ending Tour Championship in two weeks at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

Now 206 points behind reigning PGA champion Brooks Koepka, Reed vaulted nine spots to No. 24 in the world golf rankings. He also moved to 12th in the Presidents Cup standings, still outside the top 10 automatic qualifying picks but likely much higher up on captain Tiger Woods radar for one of his four captains picks. In fact, Reed moved one spot ahead of Woods himself on the Presidents Cup points list.

All thanks in large part to a break from competition that may have made him as competitive as he has been since he slipped into the green jacket two Aprils ago.

“If anything I came back stronger and with a clearer picture and mind and I was able to go out and play,” Reed said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Email Scott Rabalais at srabalais@theadvocate.com