Pundit predictions took the pressure off me, says Masters champion Reed

By Peter Hanson 9 April 2018 124
Pundit predictions took the pressure off me, says Masters champion Reed

Patrick Reed believes pundits who tipped Rory McIlroy for Masters glory played into his hands after he sealed a memorable victory at Augusta on Sunday.

McIlroy started day four just three shots adrift of Reed, and many predicted that the Northern Irishman would clinch a career Grand Slam by the end of the round.

However, the four-time major champion's wait for a green jacket continued after a disappointing two-over 74, while Reed gritted out a one-under to hold off the impressive challenges of Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth.

And Reed says he was able to play without pressure because many golfing experts did not feel he could get the job done.

"Today was definitely the hardest mentally a round of golf could possibly be," he told a news conference. 

"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, if you win or lose your match, you still have a bunch of other guys there that could pick it up.  

"When I step up here, I was going in with a Sunday lead, listening to all the analysts this morning when I was watching golf, and every single one of them picked Rory except me besides for Notah [Begay III]. Thanks, Notah, appreciate it, you're my boy!

"It's just kind of one of those things that seemed like the pressure at that point was kind of lifted off.  No one expects me to go out and win.  

"I expect myself to go out and win. My family and I believe that we need to go out there and I can win the golf tournament. 

"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 are like 'oh, well, even though we said all these great things about how he's playing, we think Rory's going to win'.

"You know, going into that, it just felt like, okay, well, that takes off a little bit of that pressure off me 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 definitely harder to do that than I thought."

Reed's victory was all the more impressive considering Spieth's sensational round of eight-under, which at one stage saw him tie the lead, and Fowler's late run for glory.

The 27-year-old admits that he was more concerned by moves made by McIlroy and Fowler, due to the fact he had holes in hand over Spieth, who was nine shots adrift at the start of the day.

"It was huge [to stay in front]. Especially mainly with Rickie and with Rory, because Rickie was only the group in front of me and Rory was playing with me," he added. "So, I knew if Jordan made some birdies, he was far enough ahead that when he kind of went on his run, I was basically on hole nine. 

"When he birdied 12 and 13 it was kind of one of those things that I knew I had those holes coming up, and as long as I could keep it at least tied with him, that he would run out of holes and I would have more birdie opportunities coming in.

"But the way those guys played towards the end, when Jordan shoots a 64 today and Rickie goes and shoots 67, having to go shoot under par on my final round of your first major to win, it was hard."  

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Peter Hanson

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