In the two events after a lineup revision brought in three new players and a change in chemistry, 4Aces GC has dominated LIV Golf’s team competition. In Portland, the all-American team won by seven strokes. At Bedminster, the foursome won by eight strokes, producing some late birdies to pull away from Majesticks GC.
With major winners Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed at the top of the order, 4Aces’ success is easily explained. Both players finished inside the top 5 in the individual standings in those two events and are a combined 34 under since Reed – along with Talor Gooch and Pat Perez – joined the team prior to Portland. They will go into the next event in Boston on Sept. 2-4 favored to make it three straight team wins.
Reed said he’s not surprised by the instant team success.
“You have a player the caliber of DJ and myself as a 1-2 punch,” he said. “You’ve got a guy like Talor Gooch, who’s playing some solid golf and is an amazing player. And you’ve got Pat. Pat’s streaky. He can get hot pretty quick. The biggest thing is even when Pat’s not having a good day, he has the attitude to pick anyone up, no matter how the day is.
“We have the right kind of morale around these guys. Really, right now, with how we feel and how our game is, our mindset is to go out and win, and win often. Let it ride. I just feel like with this group, nothing’s going to keep us down.”
Of the 14 counting rounds in Portland and Bedminster, Johnson has contributed six (the maximum number in that timeframe), Reed has contributed four, and Gooch and Perez have contributed two apiece.
More telling, 13 of those rounds were under par; the other was at even par. While other teams have been crippled by multiple players having high scores, 4Aces has worked around it. Cumulatively, the foursome's 14 counting scores add up to 48 under.
|PLAYER||PORTLAND (Par 72)||BEDMINSTER (Par 71)|
68, 68, 71
67, 69, 68
Reed said the team’s success is a reflection of its chemistry. Johnson and Reed, in particular, share common bonds. Each has a family member on the bag – Johnson’s brother Austin, and Reed’s brother-in-law Kessler Karain. In addition, their wives also are close.
It was Johnson who convinced Reed to join LIV Golf.
“I was on the fence whether I was going to play or not,” said Reed, who is one of 22 LIV Golf members playing in this week’s International Series Singapore on the Asian Tour, “and DJ was like, ‘Hey, man, you have to.’ The relationship that DJ, Paulina, myself and Justine have … well, when he said, ‘Hey, it’s unbelievable out here’ when he was in London, I was like, ‘Yeah, we’re coming.’”
Johnson and Reed were in the final threesome on the last day in Bedminster with Henrik Stenson. Although neither could chase down the Swede for the individual win, they were both looking at the leaderboard and checking the status of the 4Aces’ battle with Stenson’s Majesticks GC.
For Johnson, that’s part of the allure of LIV Golf.
“Obviously, I know how I’m doing, but I’m always checking to see how the guys are playing,” said Johnson, who captained Oliver Bekker, Shaun Norris and Kevin Yuan to a fifth-place finish in the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational London. “I really enjoy it. … There’s a lot more camaraderie with the guys. We’re all playing at the same time, so we’re all warming up together, we’re eating together. You just spend a lot more time with the guys, and I think it’s a lot of fun.”
It’s especially fun when you’re winning.
Asked if he could see 4Aces GC running the table the rest of the season, Reed said he could. “Because of how the guys are playing and how we’re supposed to play, we definitely have a chance,” he added.
But he also expects the competition to get tougher as other teams start to jell and if more new faces are added. Stenson was one of four new players at Bedminster along with veterans Paul Casey, Charles Howell III and Jason Kokrak.
“That’s the thing,” he said. “It keeps on getting deeper and deeper. With how deep the fields are getting, anyone’s going to be able to play well if you have the right team together and those guys are playing well. You just never know what’s going to happen.”
However, there’s one thing Reed hopes will never happen.
“We just don’t want to break up this team,” he said. “We want this team to stay together and have the 4Aces keep it going.”