Augusta (United States) (AFP) – Patrick Reed, one of America’s most formidable Ryder Cup weapons, will be even more fearsome come September thanks to his Masters victory.
That’s the view of three-time major winner Jordan Spieth, who was salivating at the thought of joining Reed and the rest of America’s best in the 42nd Ryder Cup matches against Europe at Le Golf National outside Paris.
“He’s a member of the Masters club now,” Spieth said. “He’ll have a green jacket forever.
“His name is etched in history, and I’m sure he’s going to carry everything that he went through today as we go into Paris and try to win a Ryder Cup on European soil.”
Ominously for Europe, Reed became the fourth US Ryder Cup prospect to win a major since Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Masters last year.
In two Ryder Cup appearances, Reed has won six of his nine matches. He’s a perfect 2-for-2 in singles — starting with a victory over Henrik Stenson at Gleneagles in 2014 during which Reed irked European fans with his notorious “shushing” gesture.
Spieth, who has teamed with Reed for seven wins in Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup play, was only sorry he didn’t get to go head-to-head with him down the back nine at Augusta on Sunday.
“It’s fun to battle Patrick, I love it,” said Spieth, who came from off the pace to finish third behind Reed and Rickie Fowler.
Spieth had racked up nine birdies, threatening the course record and gunning for what would have been an historic last-round rally, when his tee shot at 18 clipped a tree branch and dropped like a stone, leading to a bogey.
Reed’s brash confidence and go-it-alone mentality have reportedly not endeared him to many of his PGA Tour colleagues.
An ESPN poll in 2015 found him the second-most disliked player on the tour after Bubba Watson.
But 2019 US Presidents Cup captain Tiger Woods is already eyeing Reed for his team.
And Spieth said that Reed’s rivals relish their chances to take him on.
“Everybody really likes battling Patrick, because he loves it so much and eats it up,” Spieth said.
“My only wish or regret from the week was that I was playing with him at some point on the weekend, to be able to kind of fire back and forth, instead of finishing up so early.”
Reed said the Ryder Cup pressure he has thrived on differs from that of a major.
“You go to a Ryder Cup and you feel like you have a whole nation on your back,” he said.
“If you win or lose your match, you still have a bunch of other guys there that could pick it up.”
– ‘Play golf’ –
After ratcheting up the pressure on himself to win a major and failing, Reed said a new attitude helped him break through.
“I went out there and I tried so hard to get the ball in the hole,” he said of prior major starts, including his runner-up finish at the PGA Championship last August.
“I tried so hard to hit the perfect shots, that going into this week, I was just like, hey, it’s golf. Go play.
“I preached that to myself the entire week. I had my caddie remind me of that the entire week. Just be you. Play golf. If you get riled up, show it. If you aren’t happy about something, it’s all right. Just play golf.”
In classic Reed style, however, he fed off naysayers. Fans cheering for last-round playing partner Rory McIlroy to complete the career Grand Slam only spurred him on. Twitter trolls and pessimistic pundits only strengthened his resolve.
In the end, a player who had never broken 70 in 12 prior Masters rounds, posted three rounds in the 60s and a 1-under 71 on Sunday to win the title he’d dreamed of since childhood.
“Definitely growing up, everyone always dreamed about winning Augusta, winning the Masters,” he said. “As a kid growing up, it’s always, this putt is to win a green jacket, this putt’s to win the Masters.”