Majors 2018: Patrick Reed's Masters win overshadowed by detractors
Last Updated: 27/12/18 8:37pm
David Livingstone begins his review of the 2018 major championships at the Masters, where Patrick Reed's well-earned victory did not go down well with everyone...
The first major of 2018 produced another maiden winner in Patrick Reed, but I believe it's fair to say that he was not given the credit he deserved for such an outstanding performance.
It had all the makings of being a really special Sunday at Augusta National. Reed was leading, but Rory McIlroy was up there, while Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm, Henrik Stenson and Tommy Fleetwood all had realistic chances after 54 holes.
I'm definitely a fan of Patrick Reed. He's sometimes difficult to analyse, but he possesses an engaging personality that keeps us focused on the action. But, on that Sunday afternoon, I felt for him because he was on his way to his first major title amid an uncomfortable feeling of negativity around the place. It seemed that nobody in Georgia wanted him to win.
I've heard him described as the least popular Masters champion in history, but I couldn't quite believe what I was hearing at the time, particularly from many traditionalists and purists who were, apparently, not getting the champion they wanted.
The prospective McIlroy story was compelling, but once he pushed that short putt for eagle on the second hole, you felt that it wasn't going to be his day … again! So it was left to Fowler and Jordan Spieth to apply the pressure as both produced excellent late challenges, and a win for either of those two would have certainly gone down well with the locals.
But Reed held firm and made two clutch pars on 17 and 18 to pip Fowler by a single shot, and then the sniping started. We all knew there was a back story to Reed, and the stories began surfacing within moments of him being presented with the Green Jacket.
I felt that was not the right time to be digging up the past, we should have been celebrating a worthy winner of the first major of the year. However, too many people chose to focus on his difficult college days and all the negativity surrounding his family situation.
There was speculation that even his parents, from whom Reed was estranged, would not have wanted him to win at Augusta. But then we learned that his parents were watching the drama unfold on television at home, and they were genuinely willing him to succeed.
It all added up to a very complicated afternoon, and all the side stories took a little bit away from the actual golf.
When he was leading on Saturday morning, many observers were overlooking him and focusing on the likes of Fowler, Spieth and McIlroy. What became clearer over the weekend was that Reed was going to be tough to beat, and he was not going to relinquish his lead without a fight.
When it came to the crunch on Sunday afternoon, the late charges from Spieth and Fowler kept Reed honest right to the end. The end result gave us a good story, which certainly spawned a few more.
Many were disappointed at the outcome, but I was happy for him and I didn't see any point on the final day where I felt Reed would be beaten. He is perceived in some circles as arrogant, rather than just confident, and there's no doubt he has come out with the occasional comment you could describe as "ill-judged".
But when you do that, you need to back it up on the course, and you can't deny Reed did that over four days in Georgia. He finally vindicated everything he had said about himself, and we should celebrate that rather than criticise him for it.
It was not the most exciting Sunday we've seen at the Masters, but it was an important milestone for Patrick Reed. I enjoyed it, although I'm also disappointed that McIlroy could not quite get it going on the final day.
He could have really put the hammer down when he put his second in close to the long second and had a great chance for eagle. But that missed putt played on his mind and he effectively gave Reed a free pass to the finish line. There was no mid-round calamity like we saw from Rory in 2011, but he would have to wait another year for a new jacket.
But let's not take anything away from Reed. He let his golf do the talking, got the job done and many of us were genuinely pleased for him. Sadly, there were too many who were not.