Patrick Reed won the Masters Tournament, shooting a four-round score of 15-under par to edge Rickie Fowler by one shot, and Jordan Spieth by two. It was the first major title for the 27-year old star who until yesterday was known more for his Ryder Cup excellence.
The win was the sixth of Reed’s career, and moved him into select company as a winner of at least five PGA Tour events, including a major. The others are Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, and Justin Thomas.
After his historic win, Reed sat down in the one-year old media center at Augusta National to take questions from the media.
Here are four questions and answers:
1. LEADERBOARD PEEKING
Were you leaderboard watching? Did you know how big the putt was on 17?
REED: I did. I always, always watch leaderboards, no matter what event it is, whether it’s the first hole on Thursday or the last hole on Sunday. For some reason, my eyes are‑‑ I always want to know where I stand.
So yes, I saw Jordan and Rickie just storm up those leaderboards and go up. I knew when I birdied 14, was about the same time that Jordan bogeyed the last. That point, I knew as long as there wasn’t just any catastrophic implosions coming in, that was going to be basically between Rickie and I.
To hear that roar on the last, even though I knew Jon was in the group, I just knew it had to be Rickie, because, you know, to win your first major is never going to be easy. It definitely wasn’t easy today. I knew it was going to be a dogfight. It’s just a way of God basically saying, let’s see if you have it. Everyone knows you have it physically with the talent, but do you have it mentally; can you handle the ups and downs throughout the round.
I felt like that putt I made on 17, and to basically keep my 1‑up lead going into the last, and to have that iron shot not come down the hill on 18, knowing that it’s probably the fastest putt on the golf course, is just another one of those many tests that I had to try to get over in order to win my first major.
2. HOLDING OFF THE CHASERS
Rory had a chance to tie you on the second hole. Jordan actually caught you at one point. Rickie posted a number. How important was it for you every time one of those guys challenged you to maintain at least a share of that lead and not let it sort of get over your head?
REED: It was huge. Especially mainly with Rickie and with Rory, because Rickie was only the group in front of me and Rory was playing with me.
So I knew if Jordan made some birdies, he was far enough ahead that when he kind of went on his run, I was basically on hole 9. And when he birdied, I think he birdied 12 and 13, when he birdied‑‑ well, yeah, he birdied 12 and 13. When he did that, it was kind of one of those things that I knew I had those holes coming up, and as long as I could keep it at least tied with him, that he would run out of holes and I would have more birdie opportunities coming in.
But the way those guys played towards the end, when Jordan shoots a 64 today and Rickie goes and shoots 67; having to go shoot under par on my final round of your first major to win, it was hard.
You know, it was awesome and satisfying to make the clutch putts I did on the back nine. After feeling like I wasn’t really making anything all day, to make that one on 12 for birdie seemed to kind of give me that momentum and just really that belief going into the last couple that no matter what they throw at me, I can do this and have a chance.
3. NOT A CROWD PLEASER
It seemed like the crowd was cheering louder for the other golfers. Your caddie said he noticed that. Did you notice it, and was there any motivation?
REED: Yeah. I walked up to the first tee and had a really welcoming cheer from the fans, but then when Rory walked up to the tee, you know, his cheer was a little louder.
But that’s another thing that just kind of played into my hand. Not only did it fuel my fire a little bit, but also, it just takes the pressure off of me and adds it back to him.
I think that’s the biggest thing is going into a Sunday, especially trying to win, for me trying to win my first; for him, trying to win the career Grand Slam, it’s who is going to handle the pressure and who is going to have more pressure on them.
Honestly, I felt like a lot of that pressure was kind of lifted and kind of taken off of me. The fans, yes, were cheering for me, but some of them were cheering more for Rory. At the same time, you had a lot of the guys picking him to win over me, and it’s just kind of one of those things that the more kind of chatter you have in your ear and about expectations and everything,
the harder it is to play golf.
I just kind of went out there and just tried to play golf the best I could and tried to stay in the moment and not worry about everything else.
4. TOP-FIVE COMMENT
Looking back, do you regret in any way saying you were top five, making that comment, or did you just validate it today?
REED: Well, I mean, honestly, I don’t ever regret anything I really say.
You know, I stand by my comments. I feel like that I’ve played some golf that I need to play in order to get to where I want to be, and that’s to be the best golfer in the world. You know, but the way you’re going to do that is perform in these big events and to win these big events.
You know, I’m just happy to be up here and be able to say I’ve gotten over that hump of not winning at all last year, coming into a year that one of my biggest goals was to win a major and compete in golf tournaments. To be able to get them both at once, to end the drought and win a major, it helps me mentally, and also helps my resume, and hopefully I can just take this momentum going forward and play some really solid golf.