October 26, 2018 / 4:58 PM / 21 days ago

Golf: Reed deflects questions over Ryder Cup controversy

(Reuters) - Masters champion Patrick Reed said on Friday he was focused on winning the European Tour’s season-long points race rather than making a point to his fellow Americans with his play at the WGC-HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai.

FILE PHOTO: Golf - 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National - Guyancourt, France - September 25, 2018 Team USA's Patrick Reed during a press conference REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/File Photo

In his first start since featuring in the U.S. team’s losing Ryder Cup cause, Reed tried to keep the focus on the future rather than open old wounds.

“Right now I’m just trying to play great golf and finish off the year right,” Reed said after finding three water hazards en route to an even-par 72 that left him three strokes behind halfway leader Tony Finau at Sheshan International.

Reed, who unusually for a leading American has European Tour membership, is third behind Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood on the tour’s Race to Dubai standings.

The season champion will be crowned at the World Tour Championship in Dubai in three weeks.

“I’m a little bit behind Francesco ... and I’m hoping to close that gap and have a chance to hopefully win the Race to Dubai,” said Reed.

Reed has not crossed paths with Jordan Spieth since accusing his team mate of splitting up their partnership at last month’s Ryder Cup.

The pairing had worked well in previous team events and Reed said he had been “blindsided” by the decision.

“The issue’s obviously with Jordan not wanting to play with me,” he told the New York Times after the U.S. were thrashed by Europe in Paris.

Even though captain Jim Furyk said the decision had been “totally” his, Reed’s accusation raised the issue of how he would be welcomed into future American teams.

After Friday’s round, Reed was asked by a reporter: “Looking at how The Ryder Cup turned out and the fallout after that, do you come here with any sort of thought of making a point, especially the way you played yesterday?”

“Not really,” replied Reed.

Asked who his “perfect” partner would be for the next American team event, the 2019 Presidents Cup in Australia, Reed responded: “I don’t know.”

Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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