Masters champion Patrick Reed heard the roar and appeared to understand what it meant on the 18th hole at Augusta National.
Rory McIlroy out of the equation. Jordan Spieth done. Jon Rahm faded.
Patrick Reed had one left to conquer… Rickie Fowler.
Reed is one of the most polarising figures in golf, certainly in the last 20 years, maybe ever? While his heroics alongside Spieth in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup have not gone unnoticed, he remains the outsider. The Augusta crowd was eerily quiet when it appeared that Reed would par his way into the Green Jacket.
Thank goodness for Fowler. He stormed into contention and birdied the last for the loudest cheer of the day. The roar was loud on two fronts: one to give Fowler a chance at a playoff and a first Major he so deserves and two, to deny Reed, the player ‘unloved’ around the world.
Even as far as South Africa, Reed was not the man anyone wanted. Yes, he can play but that’s not necessarily good enough for most.
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‘I saw Jordan and Rickie just storm up those leaderboards and go up. I knew when I birdied 14th, 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 [it] was going to be basically between Rickie and I,’ the 2018 champion said, admitting he was following the leaderboard all day, like he does in any other tournament.
‘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.’
Read between the lines, Patrick knew the patrons had their preferred candidate. Now, he would have to fend off Fowler’s charge (-6 through his last 10) to win. He would be winning without much (or any) support from the galleries.
It was him against the world. Exactly the way he likes it.
‘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?’
And he would need all his skill to make his, and almost only his, dream come true.
‘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.’
Reed’s name is etched in Masters history. He doesn’t need the fan accolades, he has a new Green Jacket and even more confidence outside of his brash and brilliant Match Play skill.
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