For a guy who loves to wrap himself in the American flag, wearing a green jacket fits too.
Patrick Reed’s one-stroke victory at Augusta did what major championship victories are meant to do – change the career narrative.
In Reed’s case, his Captain America persona from the Ryder Cup has defined him. Until now.
Winning the first major of the year and the way he did it, building a three-stroke lead after 54 holes, then holding off what felt like an avalanche of fast-closing challengers on Sunday, wasn’t constructed on emotion but on grit and a putting stroke for which Rory McIlroy might pay millions.
Down the road, what looks on paper like a one-stroke win ahead of Rickie Fowler and a two-shot edge on Jordan Spieth won’t fully convey how hard Reed was pushed to finish off a tournament that he took control of Friday afternoon.
He first had to spar with McIlroy, then try to outrace Spieth, and finally beat Fowler to the finish line.
Needing to par the 18th hole to win, Reed ran his downhill 20-foot birdie putt past the hole, leaving himself nearly 4 feet for a green jacket.
“Just to watch the ball go in the hole to finally win my first major and to end the drought of not winning last year and to do it in the first major (of 2018), it just meant so much to me,” Reed said.
Reed shot 69-66-67-71 to finish at 15-under-par 273 but did not become the first player to shoot four rounds in the 60s at the Masters.
Having never broken 70 in four previous starts at Augusta, Reed was a different player at Augusta National this time with a simple mantra.
“Just play golf,” he said.
It was a rambunctious Sunday, the kind of final round that has painted the history of Augusta.