Punter’s pointers: Patrick Reed starts in this week’s Butterfield Bermuda Championship

The American makes a slightly unusual visit to the small event in an attempt to kickstart his form after a sore Ryder Cup snub.

Captain American has cut something of a downbeat manner in recent times.

Patrick Reed started 2021 in spectacular fashion, winning the Farmers Insurance Open, and when he finished T19th at the US Open it was a sixth successive top 20 in the Majors.

At that point in the summer he must surely have imagined he was all set for another glorious week representing Team USA at the Ryder Cup.

Alas, it was not to be.

A missed cut at the Open broke his Major spell, he didn't make another top 10 all season, and then, ahead of the Tour Championship, he got ill.

Did or did he not have Covid? Had he been very ill or merely ill? Confusion reigned and Reed's reputation went before him.

html) */?>

It almost certainly impacted on Steve Stricker's decision to overlook the 31-year-old as a captain's pick and Reed's social media account (and those related to him) reacted to the decision in bad-tempered fashion, liking criticism of it and commenting snarkily.

It would be easy to imagine that Reed would bounce back in quick fashion because his career has been defined by a brazen refusal to give a damn about what anybody else thinks.

And yet he has started the 2021/22 season badly.

He missed the cut at the Shriners Children's Open and was T68th at THE CJ CUP (in a no cut field of 78).

His Strokes Gained numbers at the latter event were appalling: 75th Off the Tee, 60th for Approaches, 46th Around the Greens and 37th for Putting.

What will he do this week? Let's take a closer look at his prospects, but first let's set the scene ahead of this week's action.

Last year

Brian Gay had finished third in 2019 and 12 months later he made a sluggish start, but raced to the finish line to set a clubhouse target that only Wyndham Clark could match.

Gay prevailed in the play-off and was then suitably happy given that he made just four cuts in his previous 19 starts (with not one top 20 in that run).

"I had good feelings from last year finishing third," he said. "It's in the back of your mind, I was looking to coming back. It's not something you want to think about too much or have over-expectations, but just knowing that you're in a good place helps. Do your thing and you have a chance to play well.

"It's great to be back in the winner's circle, it's been a while, seven years. It's a crazy game, you never know what's going to happen. It's been a pretty long slump.

"I did wonder, I've struggled the last few months and been quite miserable on the course at times. Everyone around me kept telling me you're still going to win. My wife says you're still going to win, do it again."

How and why did he win?

"I grew up Bermuda grass, I love Bermuda greens. Living in Florida, the wind doesn't bother me. It's not a long golf course. It's a golf course where I get a lot of short clubs and you can't really overpower the golf course. It keeps the shorter hitters in the game, everybody has a chance here."

The El Camaleon Connection

Gay described his modus operandi pretty clearly above and if you take a look at where he has thrived throughout his career it's no surprise to see a bunch of wins and top five finishes at course that suit short straight-hitting, competence in wind, and the ability to perform on Bermuda grass.

He's a past winner and multiple top 10 finisher at both Harbour Town and TPC Southwind, he's also a two-time top six finisher at Sea Island at Waialae.

But at El Camaleon in Mexico he consistently plays sensational golf. He's never missed a cut in 10 visits, has landed six top 30s, including victory in 2008.

Now let's take a look at Brendon Todd, winner of this event in 2019. What did he do in his next start after victory in Bermuda? He headed to El Camaleon - and he won.

Can we use this to our advantage? Are there other El Camaleon winners are in the field?

How about Graeme McDowell who triumphed at the Mexican track in 2015 after overcoming Jason Bohn and Russell Knox in a play-off.

The Northern Irishman is completely untested on the course, but the case for him this week extends beyond his win at El Camaleon.

He's also a past winner at Harbour Town, has finished third at Sea Island, and seventh at TPC Southwind.

There's more.

His last win on the PGA Tour? In the Dominican Republic at the 2019 Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship - another course on a tropical island, with blustery wind and sticky grass.

His last win anywhere? At Royal Greens in the 2020 Saudi International - in the Middle East but another windy resort course with Bermuda greens.

His last top five finish? Back at Corales Puntacana earlier this year.

He hasn't played a lot recently, but he has made four of his last five cuts.

Another Brit, Matthew Fitzpatrick, is well fancied, but don't discount Knox either.

In addition to just missing out to McDowell at El Camaleon, he's played there eight times and never finished worse than T37th.

And at Port Royal? T11th in 2019 and T16th last year.

Just two starts ago, at the Sanderson Farms Championship, he carded a pair of 66s when T29th.

Patrick Reed

"Beware" might be the word.

On the one hand, Gay referenced Florida and Reed has done well there, winning at Doral in 2014 and twice finishing second at Innisbrook.

Against that, there's that poor form since the Ryder Cup.

And also: he missed the cut in his only El Camaleon start, he's missed two cuts in three Waialae visits, he lacks even one top 40 in four Harbour Town appearances, and his only Puerto Rico Open start reaped T30th.

You'd want a short priced golfer to have more than all of that.

READ MORE: The Match: A first look at the Bryson DeChambeau v Brooks Koepka clash in Las Vegas

Latest Golf Videos