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Jun 16, 2018 8:59 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press

For Tim Fox, A Personal Connection To Each Shot By Patrick Reed

Shinnecock caddy and Southampton native Tim Fox worked closely with Patrick Reed to prepare for the U.S. Open and watced him closely last week.
Jun 19, 2018 9:13 AM

Among the dense crowds of spectators following 2018 Masters champion Patrick Reed around the fairways of Shinnecock Hills last week was a tall, sun-toasted observer keeping particularly close tabs on each shot, each putt and each discussion between player and caddy.

With his thick yardage book scribbled with notes and the official USGA chart showing pin placements for each day, veteran Shinnecock Hills caddy Tim Fox treked the fescue of the course he knows so well each day of the tournament with a particular sense of personal investment, groaning at each Reed putt that failed to drop and quietly elating each time a shot bounced through a particular spot at the front of the green along the way.

“It’s so cool to see him doing the stuff we talked about,” Fox said during Thursday’s first round, which saw Reed start out with birdies on the first two holes he played, the 10th and 11th—which wound up giving him fits a few days later. “He got off to a sick start, so sick.”

Fox, who has worked at Shinnecock since he was a student and varsity golfer at Southampton High School, caddied for Reed and worked with him throughout the week before the championship on the subtleties of Shinnecock’s greens—including a day when the pair and Reed’s tour caddy, Kessler Karain (who is also Reed’s brother-in-law) spent seven hours analyzing the course’s greens with a carpenter’s level instead of golf clubs.

“To go around with Tim Fox, who is a really good caddy out here...helped me out a lot,” Reed told an interviewer on the Golf Channel on Wednesday evening. “We’ve had a lot of fun.”

But Thursday through Sunday were not about fun for Fox. Reed, 27, was grinding through Shinnecock’s fairways, playing solidly and easily making the cut and then surging and waning on Saturday and Sunday. Both days he posted strings of birdies that put him within a shot of the lead at the turn on Sunday, but were followed by falters that dropped him back and left him three strokes off the lead at the end of the day on Sunday.

Fox, who caddied in the 2004 Open, followed his every step and swing, walking for much of the round on Thursday with Reed’s wife, Justine, both agonizing over every missed opportunity.

“He’s gonna make this or get it close, I guarantee it,” Fox whispered as Reed stroked his putter at a 30-foot uphill putt—that came to a rest a few feet short. “Damn, I jinxed him,” he muttered before striding toward the next tee.

Reed, in his seventh year as a pro, became a hero to fans of Team USA at the 2016 Ryder Cup through his strong play, boisterous celebrating of good shots and competitive tete-a-tete with Irish golfer Rory McIlroy. Since then, Reed has been a regular contender in the major tournaments, finishing second in last summer’s PGA Championship and winning the Masters this past April.

Reed was a respectable 3-over par during Thursday’s brutally difficult first round and rolled in a birdie putt on 18 on Friday afternoon to go into the weekend at +5 and nine shots behind the leader. On Sunday, he charged on the front nine with five birdies on the first seven holes to get within one stroke but started stumbling on the back nine.

“It’s hard to watch sometimes; he’s making good shots and making good putts, they just weren’t going in the cup,” Fox, 44, said. “I can see he’s doing what we talked about and it’s working, and he’s playing good, it’s just a matter of putting it together.”

Reed finished with a 2-under par round for the day which left him three back of winner Brooks Koepka. After the round, he thanked Fox for the time spent.

“Tim was great,” he said in an interview after the round. “As the golf course would, you know, firm up, he’d tell me little nuances about it. He had so much knowledge—and he’s such a great guy to be around.”

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