PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — On the 8th hole Friday at the Players Championship, Patrick Reed hit a laser-beam long iron so directly at the flag that it ricocheted off the pin and off the green. That proved no problem — Reed canned the slippery putt from the back fringe. As he fished the ball out of the hole, he glanced over at one of his playing partners, Tiger Woods, who was laughing at him from beside his golf bag.
Reed grinned back, and shrugged, and walked over to Woods’s side, where he got a playful slap on the shoulder. That drew applause and laughter from the crowd; that happens whenever Woods does anything even half-funny. Then the two walked off to the next tee, the 18th of their day and 36th of the week. In all, ’twas a jovial scene — and one that seemed wholly unlikely just months ago.
In the aftermath of last September’s Ryder Cup, when Patrick Reed went go scorched-earth on the U.S….