The Masters
April 07, 2018

Masters 2018: Rory McIlroy says all the pressure is on Patrick Reed. Is he right?

The Masters - Round Two

The Masters - Round Two

(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Photo by: Andrew Redington

Andrew Redington

AUGUSTA, Ga.—Rory McIlroy could have been playing mind games, trying to lessen his own spotlight, or merely telling the truth (or at least his version of it). Whatever the reason, perhaps all three, McIlroy's statement regarding his Masters showdown with Patrick Reed was blunt: "All the pressure is on him tomorrow."

McIlroy usually calls them like he seems 'em, a stance that's heightened his popularity while occasionally leading him into hot water. But is he right? Will the Sunday pressure be centered on Reed, shined on McIlroy, or shared? Let's break it down.

The pressure's on Reed because...

He enters with a three-shot lead. As we've seen too many times, no lead, no matter the advantage, is safe at Augusta National. That doesn't make the fall any easier.

The pressure's on Rory because...

He's trying to win a little something called the Grand Slam, and this is his best chance to date.

The pressure's on Reed because...

Brashness is not the most endearing of sentiments. People take great schadenfreude in watching arrogance, real or perceived, go down.

The pressure's on Rory because...

The pressure's on Reed because...

He's looking for his first major. That sentence cannot be underscored enough.

The pressure's on Rory because...

Unbiased observers? Please. The fans at Augusta are pulling hard for McIlroy. Though that can sustain and incite, it can also be a heavy, and unnecessary, weight.

The Masters - Round Three

The Masters - Round Three

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 07: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts to a putt on the 18th green during the third round of the 2018 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 7, 2018 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Photo by: Patrick Smith

Patrick Smith

The pressure's on Reed because...

His status changes from cult figure to certified star (but he's not a top-five player just yet).

The pressure's on Rory because...

Reed already has Hazeltine. If he wins the Masters, he's now the Rory Slayer. The mere thought of that nickname existing just made McIlroy sick.

The pressure's on Reed because...

Did we mention he's going for his first major?

The pressure's on Rory because...

Three years ago, McIlroy was the man in golf, and on track to becoming the best player in European history. Injuries, misses and the rise of Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and others have taken his throne, and though he's just 28, time's ticking to re-insert his name into historical, legendary context.

Judge's verdict: Sorry Rors. You may have been speaking from the heart, but the evidence is clear. The Sunday pressure resides in your corner.


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