Reed aims to back up big talk

Patrick Reed (AFP Photo)
Patrick Reed (AFP Photo)

Augusta - Patrick Reed, a self-proclaimed world top-five player after three wins in the past eight months, plans on backing up his bold words at this week's Masters in his major debut.

The 23-year-old Texan, a former college star for nearby Augusta State, won US PGA Tour titles at Greensboro last August, at January's Humana Challenge and last month at a World Golf Championship event at Doral.

Reed ranks 23rd in the world and second on the tour money list with $3,023,091, but only now at Augusta National will his top-five boast get a major test.

"You have to believe in yourself to be successful. That's all it is," Reed said. "I believe in myself and I hope to get to that point.

"I believe in my comments. That's a point I want to get to. Hopefully by the end of it I get to that point."

Reed played Augusta National three times in college events and twice went to the Masters as a spectator but "to be inside the ropes this week, I can't wait."

"I'm very comfortable out here," Reed said. "I like playing a draw and that sets up very well out here.

"The only thing that seems different is the greens are a lot firmer and a lot faster. I have to get used to the speed and know where to hit it in the right places."

Reed is among a record 24 Masters debutantes trying to become the first newcomer to win a green jacket since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. That statistic does not give Reed any pause.

"If any doubt creeps into my mind I try to go back to all of the success I've had," Reed said.

"You can't let doubt in your mind. I believe it's as much a mental game as it is a physical game.

"I've matured and fine tuned everything. I have gotten more consistent. I've been able to control my game."

Reed has played only 52 PGA events, half of them last season in his first full run on the tour.

"I always dreamed of getting to Augusta. Did I think I would get here this quick? Not really," Reed said. "The odds are against you. You have to get some events behind you. You have to win to get in. I believed I would get to this point. It happened to come quickly.

"It shows a lot of the hard work we have done behind the scenes."

Reed has the challenge of trying to treat the event he has dreamed of playing since his youth like just another event, the way he has treated tournaments up until now.

"I'm trying to treat it like just another event," Reed said. "You are playing the golf course. If you start treating it any different... things start going South.

"That seems to be working for me. I'm going to do the same thing this week."

But this week is a major. That means major nerves as well as major thrills.

"You still get nervous when you step up on the tee. It's definitely on every bucket list of every golfer," Reed said of the Masters.

"It feels like a dream come true. Since I was a kid I dreamed of a Masters green jacket. It feels like I'm still in that dream."

When he drove his car to the clubhouse along Magnolia Lane, Reed said he didn't want the short trip to end.

"I wanted to put it in reverse and go again," he said. "You just have a big smile on your face."

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