Rabalais: Patrick Reed still giving birth to golf career ... until his baby arrives

Like every golfer worth his endorsement deals, Patrick Reed has a plan.

He’s playing golf until the day. Until the day at home in Houston or traveling through an airport or looking across a gallery rope to his wife Justine, who has walked with him on every single hole of every round of his young PGA Tour career as caddy or cheerleader, when she tells him their baby is on her way.

Then he’s gone. Golfers aren’t noted for their speed, but watch Reed at that appointed hour leave a vapor trail from the fairway to the nearest delivery room when Windsor Wells Reed decides which day will be her birthday.

“If the baby’s coming, I’m gone,” Reed said. “Justine and the baby come first. Golf comes second.

“I can’t wait,” the former University High star said, his round young face lighting up at the thought. “Every day I talk to Justine’s stomach. ‘Today’s the day. Follow the light. Come on!’ I’m very impatient. Excited. I’m more excited about that than stepping on a golf course.”

But he is still a pro golfer, and this was the dream that drove him to endless hours of practice long before he knew how great the prospect of being a father could be. So he will play on, through the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and next week’s Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, N.C., then The Players, if the baby stays put that long. Maybe even the Byron Nelson in Dallas the week after that.

That’s if everything goes according to plan, which any parent can tell Mr. Golfer Daddy To Be is never how things work when it comes to kids. But it’s worth trying.

Patrick refers to himself and Justine and her brother Kessler as Team Reed. In his mind’s eye, Patrick envisions debuting Team Reed Plus One at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst in mid June.

“Her first event will be the U.S. Open,” Reed said. “That’ll be fun.”

Justine Reed called her husband the oldest 23-year-old she knows. With fatherhood pressing itself upon him any day, Reed was reflective beyond his years as he talked to reporters Wednesday.

South Louisiana is the nexus of so much of his golf career. His junior golf days while growing up in Baton Rouge. The first of the six Monday qualifiers he successfully navigated was in the Zurich Classic in 2012, when Justine drove them all night from a tournament in San Antonio while he tried to sleep unsuccessfully in the passenger seat.

Now two years, three PGA Tour victories and $5.3 million in earnings later, it’s hard for him to grasp the adventure he’s been on and will be adding to — and he lived it.

“It goes by fast,” he said.

“Basically, I’m back to where I started. With a couple of wins under my belt, it gives me more confidence.”

Confidence is something Reed doesn’t lack. It was on display in high definition, stereophonic splendor after he won the Cadillac Championship last month at Doral.

Emboldened by the biggest win of his career on a major championship-tough course against a major championship-worthy field, Reed told the world he felt like he was a Top-5 player.

The comment resonated with some — he said Michael Jordan reached out with an atta boy. It rankled others — many others — in a game that is still in many ways is 180 degrees of separation on the sports compass from the blustery bravado of a Richard Sherman.

Reed isn’t fazed by the carping and criticism. Maybe it’s the child on the way, maybe it’s just him. But the slings and arrows bounce off Team Reed as it steams like a battleship toward greater golf glories, its captain focused only on his first child and (for now) the next hole.

“Every guy out here thinks that, or you couldn’t be out here,” Reed said.

Certainly true, just few of them ever articulate it.

Then again, maybe they should. In this week’s field of 156 players, only 27 of them have more career wins than Reed. And he’s just getting started.

With his career. With his life. With his family.