From the moment Patrick Reed declared himself a top five player in the world after his victory at Doral in 2014 (and likely before that, too), it's been Reed vs. The World. He's certainly played that up during his Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup appearances as well, embracing the villain role by finger-wagging and shushing his way to an 10-4-4 record in team events. This mentality was never more evident than on Sunday at the Masters.
As roars bounced off the towering pines of Augusta National from seemingly every direction, Reed barely received what would literally be described as "golf claps" with every big shot and made putt. It's not that the patrons were actively rooting against Reed, it's just simply that they wanted someone else to win. Go back and look and listen to the crowd during Jordan Spieth's bid for a 63 at the 72nd hole, or when Rickie Fowler converted on his birdie putt on the same green to get within one of Reed's lead. On both occasions, the place exploded, in a good way for Fowler and a bad way for Spieth, as if the crowd was willing one of the two young American stars to victory. As for Captain America himself, he got scraps.
Like he does with everything, there's no doubt Reed used this as motivation, and if he didn't have enough to be motivated about as he prepared for his tee time Sunday morning, Golf Channel may have stoked the Reed flame that much more during the pre-tournament show. Here's what Reed had to say about some of the predictions that were made while he was watching TV:
"You know, listening to all the analysts this morning as I was watching the golf and every single one of them picked Rory except me, besides for Notah (Begay III), thanks Notah, appreciate it, you're my boy.
"It's just kind of one of those things, it just seemed like the pressure at that point was kind of lifted off. I mean, no one expects me to go out and win, I expect myself to go out and win, my family and I believe that I can win the golf tournament. Just seemed like every one else was saying how great I was playing all week, how very impressed they were, but then come Saturday night and Sunday morning they're like 'oh well uh, even though we said all these great things about how he's playing, we think Rory's going to win.' Going into that it just felt like that takes a little bit of that pressure off of me because I can just go out and try and play golf. And that kind of fit into the motto that I was trying to do all week was to go out and just play golf, and it was definitely harder to do that than I thought."
To be clear, Reed never specifically calls out Golf Channel, but unless Notah has a side job no one knows about, Reed was obviously watching Golf Central like the rest of us. Plus, Brandel Chamblee referred to Reed's quote in the "Live From" show following the final round, and pondered about whether he and his fellow analysts had a hand in Reed's victory.
So, we basically learned what we already knew about Reed, that he has arguably the most self-belief of anybody on the PGA Tour, and that he's got the game to win major championships. And no matter how much he accomplishes, it's still Reed vs. The World.