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Before the epic battle between Patrick Reed and Rory McIlroy at the 2016 Ryder Cup, Reed was more nervous than he had ever been.
According to Golf Digest’s John Feinstein, Reed was tight on the range that Sunday at Hazeltine before he took on McIlroy in one of the most anticipated matches of the day.
“Really tight,” Reed told Feinstein, who recounted the story in his new book The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup. “I didn’t like the way I was hitting the ball, and I knew it was nerves. I was telling myself to calm down and just get ready to play, but it wasn’t working.”
That’s when Tiger Woods stepped in.
“I thought sure he was going to give me a pep talk, say something about my swing or about just relaxing and not trying too hard,” Reed said. “I walked over there. He had his arms folded. I waited. He looked really serious.
“And then he told me a dirty joke.”
It worked. Reed went on to beat McIlroy, 1 up, in a match that will forever be associated with the American’s victory at Hazeltine. Reed and McIlroy combined to make eight birdies and an eagle on the front nine.