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Captain America Is The Masters Champion

It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but it was brass.

April 09, 2018 - 11:59 am
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It’s Monday, but let’s go back to Saturday evening and specifically after the third round of The Masters had finished. Rory McIlroy had just shot a 65 and he wasn’t done firing. He hit the press room and went to work on Patrick Reed, who led by three: “I feel like all the pressure is on him”

And Rory kept going: “He’s got to go out and protect that [lead], and he’s got a few guys chasing him that are big-time players. He’s got to deal with and sleep on tonight. … I feel like I can go out there and play like I’ve got nothing to lose.

“… Patrick is going for his first [major] and I’m going for something else … I’ve got a lot of experience in these positions …”

He was really convincing. So convincing that the popular sentiment was that Rory would come back from 3 strokes back finish off Reed, The Masters, and the career Grand Slam on Sunday. After all, he’d been there before. Reed had never faced the pressure of a Sunday major, let alone a Masters Sunday. And the thought was, it would crush him.  

And anyone who thought that does not know Patrick Nathaniel Reed. Because Patrick Reed eats that crap up. Remember, this is the guy who used to allegedly introduce himself by saying, "I'm Patrick Reed, and I’ll kick the bleep out of you at golf any time you want."

Patrick Reed literally spent his morning as the leader of the Masters watching Golf Channel and seeing one analyst after another lay out why Rory would win and Reed wouldn’t. Every analyst except for Notah Begay. And he loved it: “It just seemed like the pressure at that point was kind of lifted off. No one expected me to go out and win.”

Sure, he hadn’t won a major before. And yes, he theoretically had the home course advantage because he went to Augusta State, but he wasn’t the fan favorite. Far from it.  They weren’t rooting for him to win and were practically rooting for him to lose.  Something that is unheard of at Augusta Rory was their guy. Should have an absolute kick it in the junk to Reed. He wins back to back national titles right up the road, but the gallery was completely behind the guy from Northern Ireleand. But not only did Reed not crack under it, he fed off it. He’s as big a fuel guy as you’ll find and he was loaded with super premium yesterday. 

But when Reed put his drive on one into  a tree and then bogeyed the first hole while Rory parred it, it looked like the door was open. And when Rory outdrove Reed by a country mile on two and then had a five-footer for eagle and a tie, it looked like Rory was going to blow past him and never look back. 

But it was Rory who missed the putt, and while he made birdie to get within one, he never got any closer. Instead, it was Rory who cracked under the pressure of Sunday at The Masters. It was Rory who ran his mouth and couldn’t back it up. And Reed kept right on grinding. None of that bothered Reed. 

Nothing bothered Reed who was brass as hell. Not even Jordan Spieth who started the day 9 shots back came charging all the way back to get into a tie for the lead after a birdie on 16. Reed bounced right back and re-took the lead. Rickie Fowler made a charge and Reed held him off, too. Three of the best tried their best and still wasn’t enough against the guy McIlroy said would choke. He knew he had to keep his dome: “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 the answer is yes. Rory tried to play mind games with him, Jordan made a run at him, Rickie made a run at him, and none of it bothered him. Patrick Reed just kept on doing what he did in the Ryder Cup - making more clutch shots and more clutch putts when they mattered most.  

He knew how this was going to end before you did. He believed in himself before you did. Yeah, he’s not the most popular winner ever, who cares? I know Patrick doesn’t. Rory, Jordan, and especially Rickie would’ve hyped  the patrons a lot more with a green jacket, but Reed wasn’t having it and wasn’t about to let that happen.  And when he did finally get it, he kept referring to “my first green jacket,” as in, I’m winning more of these.  So if you’re pissed about this, you’re really going to be pissed because I plan on winning another one.  Or more.  And personally, I’m not betting against this guy.

And when it was done, his caddie said to him: "Great bleeping job. It may not have been pretty, but you got the job done." Yes and yes. It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but it was brass, it was gutty, and it was a great bleeping job. Captain America is the Masters champion.