Defending champion Reed looks to emulate feat at Augusta National - GulfToday

Defending champion Reed looks to emulate feat at Augusta National

Golf

Patrick Reed hits a chip shot on the second hole during a practice round prior to The Masters on Wednesday. Agence France-Presse

Defending Masters champion Patrick Reed hasn’t won anything since capturing his first major title last year at Augusta National, but says his game is ready for a green jacket repeat.

The 28-year-old American makes his sixth Masters appearance this week without a top-10 finish this year, his best results a share of 13th at Hawaii and Torrey Pines.

But Reed has confidence his fortitude and perseverance can once again make the difference.

“The game now is where it needs to be,” Reed said on Wednesday. “We’ve put in a lot of hard work throughout the entire year.”

“I’ve put myself in position in some events. It’s just one round here or there that has kind of hurt me. I just need to go out and put four solid rounds together.”

The only players to win back-to-back Masters titles were Jack Nicklaus (1965-66), Nick Faldo (1989-90) and Tiger Woods (2001-02).

“Actually having the win, I know what I need to do in order to compete and have a chance on Sunday,” Reed said. “It makes me more hungry and more motivated to keep the jacket.”

Reed admits it would be fun to see Tiger Woods win a 15th career major title and fifth Masters crown this week. The 43-year-old star hasn’t won a major since the 2008 US Open and hasn’t won a green jacket since 2005.

“It would be pretty cool,” Reed said. “But at the same time, hopefully I can go ahead and fight him for it.”

Ten winners have missed the cut in defending their crowns, including Spain’s Sergio Garcia last year and Britain’s Danny Willett in 2017.

Some wither under the changes forced upon a player by a Masters win but Reed likes what he has done, notably in juggling his time with greater demands.

“The biggest thing would have been just really managing my time well,” Reed said. “I’m a grinder. If anything I probably hit too many golf balls and I’m on the golf course too long. So as later in the weeks come, it can get a little more stressful in my body and on my mind.

“And then with being Masters Champion, now you’re adding extra obligations and extra things that come along with it.

“I felt like my team and I have handled it really well. Yes, it’s different, but it’s a good different.”

Reed says he feels more comfortable and confident around Augusta National after holding off Rickie Fowler last year to win by a stroke.

“Every guy out here believes that they can win a major. You feel like you have the game to do it, but until you actually do it, there’s always that kind of self doubt in the back of your mind,” Reed said.

“So once you get over that hurdle and you do it once, then all of a sudden now your confidence goes even higher because you start believing. Not only do you believe that you can win, but you’ve also already done it as well.”

Controversy has dogged Reed over his career. At last year’s Ryder Cup, the self-styled “Captain America” went 1-2, dropping two four-balls matches alongside Tiger Woods, and complained about being benched, irking some team-mates.

Reed, now 18th in the rankings, has reached a career high of seventh but has not yet met a 2014 declaration that he was a world top-five talent after a WGC victory at Doral.

Agence France-Presse