By Andrew Both
GREENSBORO, North Carolina (Reuters) - As much as Patrick Reed enjoyed the Olympic experience, he would like to see the format tweaked for Tokyo 2020.
The Rio men's golf competition last week was staged like a regular small-field tour event - 72 holes of stroke play with no team aspect.
Even though Reed was one of four Americans in Rio, they were competing against each other, not with each other and for those out of medal contention there was little on the line in the final round other than pride and a few world ranking points.
Reed would like to see 30 two-man teams in Tokyo, with the stronger nations perhaps having two teams.
“If you’re in the bottom half, you’re not really playing for anything,” world number 14 Reed said on Wednesday on the eve of the Wyndham Championship, which he won in 2013 in a playoff with Jordan Spieth.
“You’re playing for your country, but at the same time you have zero chance of getting on the podium.
“If you have two-man teams, where you have to add the score on every day, it doesn’t matter if you are six-under or six-over, you have to grind the whole time.”
Reed, who finished equal 11th in Rio, believes such a format would create more excitement, more of a team concept, more pressure on the players, and could help the Olympic competition develop a Ryder Cup-style atmosphere.
“That would be a pretty cool kind of thing, because you’re going to have someone cheering for someone.
“Last week, there’s four Americans there, we’re all cheering for each other, but really at the end of the day we’re all trying to beat each other."
Reid is one of seven Olympians who rushed back from Rio to compete in the PGA Tour event at Sedgefield Country Club, and the Olympic experience is still fresh in his mind.
While stories of chaotic transportation, crime and half-empty stadiums gave Rio something of a global public relations black eye, Reed has nothing but good memories.
“You didn’t know how things were going to be run throughout the whole week, but it was flawless,” he said.
“There was a bigger turnout than I expected with the galleries, and traveling to-and-from, the security and everything, it was awesome. You felt safe.”
As for the concerns of contracting the Zika virus, the reason several top golfers gave for skipping the Olympics, Reed said he did not see a mosquito on the course all week.
(Editing by Larry Fine)