PARIS -- The curious decision to split up one of America's best Ryder Cup teams of the past several years was blasted late Sunday by Patrick Reed, who said he was "blindsided" when he learned he would not be playing with Jordan Spieth at Le Golf National.
Reed, 28, told The New York Times in a phone interview Sunday after the American team had suffered a 17½ to 10½ defeat to Europe that the decision-making process was a "buddy system" that ignored the input of all but select players -- which would imply Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, who along with captain Jim Furyk are part of a Ryder Cup committee put in place four years ago.
"The issue's obviously with Jordan not wanting to play with me," said Reed, who added, "I don't have any issue with Jordan. When it comes right down to it, I don't care if I like the person I'm paired with or if the person likes me, as long as it works and sets up the team for success.
"He and I know how to make each other better. We know how to get the job done."
Not playing all the matches miffed Reed, who won the Masters this year but has struggled since finishing fourth at the U.S. Open.
"For somebody as successful in the Ryder Cup as I am, I don't think it's smart to sit me twice," he said.
Reed and Spieth came into the Ryder Cup sporting an impressive record together. They were 4-1-2 in the Ryder Cup, 8-1-3 including the Presidents Cup. They went 2-0-1 four years ago at Gleneagles and were 2-1-1 two years ago at Hazeltine.
But there had been rumblings in recent weeks that Spieth wanted out of the pairing. Reed had, on a few occasions, mockingly remarked that he had "carried" Spieth in several of their previous victories.
And earlier this year, at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Reed was dismayed when a rules official did not give him a favorable ruling and was heard to say that "if I were Jordan Spieth," he would have received it.
Whether this all contributed to the split is unclear. A question was posed to both Spieth and Reed on Sunday night, and Spieth jumped in to say that Furyk had been a "player's captain" and allowed input by the team. Mickelson praised Furyk for that very attribute.
"We were totally involved with every decision that was made," Spieth said. "Jim allowed it to be a player-friendly environment. And we were involved, and we thought that the teams came out of our four-man squad [Reed, Spieth, Woods and Thomas]. We had two potentially fantastic teams, and we went out and tried to play our best."
Then Furyk said any issues should be pointed at him, that he made the final decisions. Reed was not allowed to answer before the news conference concluded.
What complicates matters is that Spieth went 3-1 playing with Thomas. But by splitting up Spieth and Reed, it created other potential problems. Reed played twice with Woods in four-ball and lost -- and didn't break 80 if he counted strokes on his own ball on Saturday.
And while Thomas had success with Spieth, he would have been considered a natural to play with Rickie Fowler, with whom he had teamed to go 2-0-1 at last year's Presidents Cup.
The idea was the teams of Spieth-Reed, Thomas-Fowler and Brooks Koepka-Dustin Johnson formed the nucleus to build around. From there, you needed just one more team or to mix and match Woods, Mickelson, Tony Finau, Bryson DeChambeau, Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson.
And when the U.S. side was whitewashed in the Friday afternoon foursomes, the pairings came into even more focus.
"I felt like we came out of, in the past, having our most successful pairing in the Ryder Cup," Furyk said on Thursday after the first-session pairings were announced. "We had one very good pairing. I think we came out of it with two very good pairings. The idea was to double up and try to get two."
And that did not work out so well, simply because finding a place for Reed proved to be problematic. The natural spot was with Woods, an idol, and they had the unfortunate task of going up against the powerhouse tandem of Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari -- losing twice. It didn't help that Reed's form has fallen off recently.
More than that, it forced the Americans into some awkward foursome groupings on Friday. It meant Mickelson with DeChambeau in a format that was not conducive to Mickelson's inconsistent play of late; it meant putting Koepka, a two-time major winner, on the bench. The 0-for-4 result doomed the U.S.'s attempt at a first overseas victory in 25 years.