“HAV­ING TO SHOOT UN­DER PAR IN THE FI­NAL ROUND TO WIN YOUR FIRST MA­JOR WAS HARD”

Pa­trick Reed re­flects on his fi­nal round and what it means to clinch his first ma­jor.

Golf World (UK) - - MASTERS REVIEW -

GW: How dif­fi­cult was it play­ing the fi­nal round against Rory know­ing that a world­class field was right be­hind you?.

PR: To­day was def­i­nitely the hard­est that a round of golf could pos­si­bly be men­tally. At The Ry­der Cup, it’s just a to­tally dif­fer­ent type of pres­sure. You go to a Ry­der Cup and you feel like you have a whole na­tion on your back. You know that if you win or lose your match, you still have a bunch of other guys there that could pick it up. Lis­ten­ing to all the an­a­lysts, ev­ery sin­gle one of them picked Rory over me ex­cept No­tah Be­gay. Thanks, No­tah. Ap­pre­ci­ate it. You’re my boy (laughs).

It just seemed like the pres­sure at that point was lifted off. I ex­pect my­self to go out and win but it seemed like ev­ery­one else was say­ing how great I was play­ing all week, how very impressed they were, but come Satur­day night and Sun­day morn­ing, they were like, ‘Oh, well, even though we said all th­ese great things about how he’s play­ing, we think Rory’s go­ing to win.’

Go­ing into to­day it felt like, ‘Well, OK, that takes off a lit­tle bit of that pres­sure off and I can just go out and try to play golf.’ That kind of fit into the motto that I was try­ing to do all week – just go out and play golf. It’s harder to do that than I thought.

Rory had a chance to tie you on the sec­ond hole. Jor­dan caught you at one point and Rickie posted a num­ber. How im­por­tant was it for you to main­tain at least a share of that lead?

It was huge, mainly with Rickie and with Rory, be­cause Rickie was in the group in front and Rory was play­ing with me. I knew if Jor­dan made some birdies, he was far enough ahead that when he went on his run, as long as I could keep it at least tied with him, he would run out of holes and I would have more birdie op­por­tu­ni­ties com­ing in.

But the way those guys played to­wards the end – Jor­dan shoot­ing 64 and Rickie shoot­ing 67– hav­ing to shoot un­der par in the fi­nal round to win your first ma­jor was hard. It was awe­some and sat­is­fy­ing to make the clutch putts on the back nine. Af­ter feel­ing like I wasn’t re­ally mak­ing any­thing all day, to make that one on 12 for birdie seemed to give me that mo­men­tum and be­lief go­ing into the last cou­ple that, no mat­ter what they throw at me, I can do this and have a chance.

Do you wish you were more pop­u­lar with the fans, or is it some­thing you’ve turned to your ad­van­tage?

No, I don’t think it’s re­ally as much a pop­u­lar­ity thing with the fans as it is that Rory has been in this po­si­tion here be­fore to win. He’s played some re­ally solid golf here. A lot of peo­ple are want­ing him to get that ca­reer Grand Slam. It’s just na­ture, and hon­estly to me, it was just go out there and play golf. Over­seas, the fans cheer for good golf no mat­ter what. It’s the same thing here. If you hit qual­ity golf shots, they are go­ing to cheer.

But if two guys hit the same ex­act shots, who­ever is the home guy is go­ing to get louder cheers. For Rory be­ing in po­si­tion and try­ing to win here in the past, and you know, hav­ing some suc­cess here, it didn’t sur­prise me that the fans were cheer­ing for him in the be­gin­ning.

What did you think held you back ini­tially at ma­jors? It took you a very long time just to get a top 10??

The biggest thing was I put too much pres­sure on my­self. I went out there and I tried so hard to get the ball in the hole. I tried so hard to hit the per­fect shots, that go­ing into this week, I was just like, ‘Hey, it’s golf. Go play.’ I preached that to my­self the en­tire week. I had my cad­die re­mind me of that the en­tire week. Just be you. Play golf. If you get riled up, show it. If you aren’t happy about some­thing, it’s all right. Just play golf. I was able to stay in that kind of mind­set the en­tire week, espe­cially through the first three rounds. I haven’t re­ally had much suc­cess in shoot­ing low rounds out here at Au­gusta, and to be able to shoot three of my low­est rounds the first three days, it showed a lot. I knew be­cause of that com­ing into to­day, that I re­ally had a re­ally good chance to win a golf tour­na­ment.

Look­ing back, do you re­gret in any way mak­ing the com­ment a few years ago that you were a “top-5 player” or did you just val­i­date it to­day?

Hon­estly, I don’t ever re­gret any­thing I re­ally say. I stand by my com­ments. I feel like I’ve played some golf that I need to play in or­der to get to where I want to be – and that’s to be the best golfer in the world. The way you’re go­ing to do that is per­form in th­ese big events and to win th­ese big events.

I’m just happy to be up here and be able to say I’ve got­ten over that hump of not win­ning at all last year, com­ing into a year where one of my biggest goals was to win a ma­jor and com­pete in golf tour­na­ments. To be able to get them both at once, to end the drought and win a ma­jor, it helps me men­tally, and also helps my re­sumé. Hope­fully I can just take this mo­men­tum go­ing for­ward and play some re­ally solid golf.

‘I knew if Jor­dan made some birdies as long as I could keep it at least tied with him, he’d even­tu­ally run out of holes’

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