Bacon’s Bites: A Green Jacket or top of the popularity stakes? It’s a no-brainer for Patrick Reed
- Credit: AP
Mike Bacon takes a look back at the Masters and why Patrick Reed is no different to many of sport’s winners
Less than 24 hours after Patrick Reed won the Masters on Sunday, I was out on the golf course myself.
Admittedly the EADT versus Melton St Audrys annual golf extravaganza isn’t quite as scenic or grabs the headlines as much as the four days in Augusta, but we all had a good time.
Incredibly, for 52 years the EADT/Melton match has taken place – quite some feat.
I’ve played in quite a few of them, stretching back many years, winning a few, drawing a few, losing plenty.
On Monday, as usual, it was good competition, good food, good company – Eddie Barnes, one of my opponents, a big speedway fan, so plenty to chat about.
To make things just right this year, despite the weather, it ended in a two-and-a-half points all draw t’boot between the two teams.
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Apart from when Eddie and I got away to talk Ipswich Witches, much of the conversation on the course and in the clubhouse afterwards was the Masters, and Patrick Reed’s victory.
Most observed that while they always enjoy the Masters, the back nine at St Audrys on Monday was almost as exciting as the back nine at Augusta this time around. It wasn’t brilliant.
Yes, Reed did a job and while his golf was nothing to write home about on that final day, he did enough.
Yet, incredibly, despite being not just an American but a man who colleged locally at Georgia and Augusta, Reed didn’t get the patrons’ backing his opponents, including Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy, enjoyed.
What happened to American patriotism?
Apparently, with Reed, there’s history.
He turned pro seven years ago and it didn’t take him long to find his way onto the PGA Tour. He won on Tour just before his 23rd birthday and then twice more, including the 2014 World Golf Championship at Doral, where his after-match comments caused a stir.
“I have three wins on the PGA Tour,” he had said afterwards.
“I truly believe that I am a top-five player in the world.”
Fair point, but Reed hadn’t finished.
“I don’t see a lot of guys that have done that besides Tiger Woods and the legends of the game,” he added.
“I believe in myself, especially with how hard I’ve worked. I’m one of the top-five players in the world. I feel like I’ve proven myself.”
Now, while we all love a bit of confidence, many dislike perceived arrogance and Reed was showing plenty of it.
Not that he seemed to care.
He put a lone finger to his mouth to ‘shush’ the crowd at the 2014 Ryder Cup. His face even adorned Golf Digest magazine, with him doing the exact-same thing.
Call it brash but he has backed it up going 6-1-2 in two Ryder Cups, including a memorable singles win against Rory McIlroy in 2016.
He now has a Major to his collection.
To be a winner, especially in individual sport, you often have to have an arrogance, an over-confidence in yourself, cockiness. It doesn’t make you a bad person.
‘Show me a good loser and I’ll show you someone who rarely wins’, I think it goes.
Asked during this year’s Masters why he thinks people, especially on social media, have a pop at him, Reed was dismissive.
“I don’t know. Why don’t you ask them?”, he said.
“I mean, I have no idea, and honestly I don’t really care what people say on Twitter or what they say if they are cheering for me or not cheering for me. I’m out here to do my job, and that’s to play golf.”
Is he wrong?
Of course he isn’t.
Too many people in this day and age spout off on social media, engaging their brains long after the tweet has gone.
Reed may have a past that’s not whiter than white, but he wears his ‘Captain America’ nickname with pride.
He is good at shutting out the ‘noise’.
Back at St Audrys, with the rain coming down, much was discussed over the enjoyable beef pie and veg, about Reed and the 2018 Masters in general.
McIlroy’s disappointing last round, Jordan Speith’s super putts. How would any of us cope on the ‘glass’ greens of Augusta?
Certainly none of us dished out a heady potion of grief towards the new Masters victor.
The bottom line is, Reed is a winner.
He’s a Masters champion. Forever in the history books. That Green Jacket is his.
Being popular is the least of his concerns.