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Patrick Reed: Why We Need to Pay Attention to the New Kid with Guts

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Patrick Reed: Why We Need to Pay Attention to the New Kid with Guts
Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press
Patrick Reed with Donald Trump.

Maybe you were on the sofa or at the 19th hole or watching on your iPad or phone and hoping for a Tiger Woods charge up the leaderboard at the WGC-Cadillac on Sunday. You weren't alone.

When Woods was done in by a bunker on the sixth hole, you, like many, were disappointed. But let's give some credit to Patrick Reed. Here's a guy who works hard on his game, believes in himself and just beat every top player in the world.

Reed thinks he deserves some respect. After three wins in 14 events, he's right. If Reed keeps this up, he could be looking at Player of the Year.

Here's the best part as far as the rest of us are concerned: He's not a workout junkie, except when it comes to working on his golf game.

"Don't really watch what I eat," Reed said about his diet. "Just kind of live life and feel like if I work hard at the golf course, that's just what worked for me. I feel like that every time I have worked out in the past, I've gotten real tight and kind of bulked up even more, and I'm unable to really be consistent and make the correct golf swings I need to."

Lynne Sladky/Associated Press/Associated Press
Tiger Woods re-injured his back hitting out of a bunker.

If that doesn't put you in Reed's corner, you are probably an aerobics instructor. But it definitely doesn't mean he's lazy.

A few keys to his game improvement were throttling back to a 43-inch driver and working with shotstohole.com, a program that he said is like "ShotTracker on steroids" because it's more in-depth.

"It's one of those things that it shows every putt, if you missed it short, past, left, right, and a lot of these things are, did you do it—you might have missed it left but did you hit your line; if you hit your line, then you didn't miss it left, all that kind of thing," he explained. "That really is key to what I feel like is being successful and more consistent, because a guy who it's had their line and hits their distances are the ones that are going to be playing well."

Reed also believes in long hours on the range when he's not competing. It's not unusual for him to start practicing early in the morning and go for four hours or more. His coach is Kevin Kirk of The Woodlands, a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher.

"I'm a firm believer that if you're not working hard, people are working hard and passing you, so you'd better work just as hard if not harder to keep up and also move forward," Reed said. "Look at Tiger. I mean, he doesn't just go home and sit on the couch, that's for sure. He works as hard as he can at home and puts in all the hours, and that's why he has an ungodly amount of wins." 

Looking at the field at the WGC Cadillac on Wednesday evening, Reed would have been one of the least likely picks to win. It was his first experience a that level. Until this week, he had not beaten the sheer number of quality players who were in the field.

Only Reed was undeterred by all that.

"It's one of those things that you build confidence by how hard you work, and you know, I feel like I'm one of the hardest workers out here and it definitely shows," he said Sunday evening. "I'm working my way up to become a top‑five player in the world. But the thing is, it's just going to take a little time in the fact that I haven't been on the PGA Tour for very long."

He turned pro in 2011 and got his PGA Tour card through the Q-school process in 2012.

Reed even did the unthinkable and wore red and black on Sunday. While some may have thought he was taking a shot at Tiger Woods, it was actually in Woods' honor that he selected the colors.

"The best player ever to live when I was growing up wore black pants, a red shirt," Reed said. "I was growing up watching him, I always thought, you know, it would be cool to wear black and red come down Sunday. You know I did it when I was in juniors, I did it in amateur golf, and you know, it's worked.  Obviously there's something behind it."

Reed is just 23, and Woods is 39.

If Reed keeps this up, he could be looking at Player of the Year, not bad for a guy who spent the better part of two years doing Monday qualifying for PGA Tour and Web.com events.

He believes in himself because he has had it at every level in golf.

"I wouldn't say I'm surprised about winning three times," he noted. "If you were going to tell me two years ago that, 'Do you think you're going to win three times in 14 starts and win a World Golf Championships where you're going to lead wire‑to‑wire with Tiger Woods three shots back going into Sunday?' I probably would have said, you know, odds are against me."

That doesn't mean he would think he couldn't do it, and that doesn't mean he isn't proud of the accomplishment.

"To come out here and play as well as I did, especially at my first World Golf Championships event, and to play the way I did with Tiger close to the lead and Hunter Mahan really close, Jason Dufner, all those great guys that are major winners who have been on Ryder Cup teams, who are just outstanding players, and you know, to go wire‑to‑wire in a field like this just means a lot," he admitted.

Reed's next outing is Bay Hill, Arnold Palmer's tournament. Unlike Doral's Blue Monster, he's played Bay Hill previously in amateur events.

"I know it's a special place. I love the golf course, so I can't wait to get back there," he said.

Seriously. The kid has game and he has guts. It's time to pay attention to him. As of today, he's top 20 in the world. With another couple of wins, can top five really be far behind?

Patrick Reed's Best-Ever Quote: Stopping to take a call during a press conference at Humana Challenge, "Sorry, it's the President."

Kathy Bissell is a golf writer for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand or from official interview materials from the USGA, PGA Tour or PGA of America.

 

 

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