AUGUSTA, Ga. — It seemed all of Augusta National was rooting for Jordan Spieth Sunday afternoon. The roars, the cheers, the pleas for brilliance were all aimed at the hard-charging Texan who was trying to make Masters history, coming from nine strokes back to win what would have been his second green jacket.
Patrick Reed? Well, he had his brother-in-law, Kessler Karain, who serves as his caddie; his wife, Justine, who was cheering outside the ropes; and his estranged mother, Jeannette Reed, who issued an early tweet, “Go Patrick Reed.”
There were a few other members of Team Reed, but not many more. He might have been “Captain America” during the Ryder Cup, but Reed wasn’t the king of Augusta until he made a 4-foot putt for par on the 18th hole to win the 82nd Masters.
With his helicopter tee shots and baggy pink shirt, Reed shot a 1-under 71 to finish at 15-under, one shot clear of Rickie Fowler. Reed survived threats from several contenders and his own nerves to claim his first major championship in a city where he hasn’t always been embraced.
It’s all either documented or whispered: the reported tension between the Reeds and Patrick’s parents, Bill and Jeannette, and the nasty back-and-forth on social media where Justine claimed Patrick was abused physically and verbally by his parents — accusations his parents have denied.
“The last thing I would ever want for my daughter is to grow up in an environment like my husband did,” Justine allegedly wrote in a Facebook post obtained by The Sun.
We also know about the time his parents, who weren’t invited to Patrick’s wedding, were escorted out of the 2014 U.S. Open supposedly at the request of Justine and how his parents, who live in Augusta, have had little contact with Patrick, Justine and their two children. And there’s the time Reed’s sister, Hannah, used Facebook to say her brother accused her of “Faking Two Kidney Surgeries to get him back into my life.”
He won back-to-back national championships at Augusta State in 2010-11, but he’s not necessarily a hometown hero, as there were allegations he wasn’t always honest with his scoring during practice sessions.
All that baggage was on his shoulders on the back nine Sunday.
When he made his 2-foot putt for par on the 18th hole, Justine was there to greet him with a hug and a kiss. There were applause and congratulations for the 27-year-old winner, but not the all-out adoration that normally accompanies a new Masters champion, certainly not the kind of adoration Spieth would have received had he won.
Maybe Augusta will warm to him now that he has a green jacket and a lifetime invitation to the Masters. He has earned that.
Like every Masters champion, Reed needed a bit of luck to win. It came at the par-5 13th, where his approach shot hit the front bank of the green and stayed dry. An overnight rain had softened conditions, helping the ball to keep from rolling back down into Rae’s Creek. The rest was just hard work with a clutch putter.
He made just four birdies, including a 22-footer from the back of the green at the par-3 12th that got him to 14-under and an 8-footer at the 14th that gave him his final score. He also made a clutch putt for par at the 17th.
Soon Spieth was starting to make a mess of the 18th and all Reed needed at the end was par to claim his major. After everything he has been through, this was the easy part. Patrick Reed will never be warm and fuzzy and his family might be more complicated than the norm. But the Masters isn’t a popularity contest. From villain to victor: Captain America now wears the color green.