Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Patrick Reed: The Nerve of this Kid

I don't know about you, but I'm becoming a huge fan of Patrick Reed. But, the nerve of this kid. He fights his way onto the tour by Monday qualifying, what was it, six times? He arrives on the scene with his wife caddying for him, not a professional looper. He wins soon, and he wins often, and he does it dressed like Tiger Woods.

Patrick Reed has cojones. He gets himself in hot water with the media, who always claim to want an honest, forthright interview, but often can't handle the truth. Imagine, Reed had the honesty to admit that he considered himself one of the top five players in the world, and very few people applauded him for his honesty. I thought the kid had guts to admit that he considered himself to be one of the five best players in the game. To have that kind of self-belief, and to be willing to admit to having that kind of self-belief, well, that takes a lot of self-belief! 

This kid has a set of cojones on him that you could use for book ends. He went out and played with Tiger at the Hero World Challenge wearing Tiger red and black. He then whipped Tiger soundly. The nerve of the kid. Looks like he plans to sport the red and black regularly. He's definitely sending a message, and it ain't that he's there to amass top tens. This kid is there to win.

Obviously, he can play, but he's not the longest, or the straightest. I haven't checked the stats, but I suspect he doesn't top any of them, except perhaps in wins in the past couple of years. He looks more like Porky Oliver than Tiger Woods, and hopefully he'll stay that way, continuing to avoid spending hours in the gym, consulting the swing teachers, the mind coaches and professional loopers in favour of being what he clearly is, an old school champion who has self-belief in spades.

Starting the day two shots back, Patrick Reed certainly knew he was in with a chance to win. But, his pre-game interview says a great deal about his maturity and his champion's mindset. When asked whether he needed to play aggressively, Reed said he already considered himself an aggressive player, and that what he needed to be was patient. Now, we hear this stuff all the time from players being interviewed, the old standard, one shot at a time like the drunks quotes, but Reed is still a good interview, despite his bad experience with the media after having the honesty, not the temerity, as some people saw it, to say he considered himself one of the top five players in the world. Patrick Reed is a champion. He thinks like one, and he plays like one.

In his interview, he explained in some detail what he meant by being patient, that he didn't need to get too aggressive and make any silly mistakes. But, he was still thinking of shooting three or four under on the front nine and then seeing what he needed to do on the back. The nerve of the kid; talking about being patient and not making any silly mistakes, but still thinking about going three or four under for the first nine holes. 

As the round progressed, no one, with the possible exception of Patrick Reed, thought he was going to win. According to Johnny Miller and the rest of the gang, it was a two horse race between Jimmy Walker and Matsuyama. But, remaining patient, Reed just kept on hitting the ball and, lo and behold, he holes out with a wedge and the rest, as they say, is history.

So, is there anything that we mere mortals can take from all of this? I think there is. It is the fact that a little patience, and a whole lot of self-belief, can serve you really well in this game. We can also begin to understand that this kid isn't just going to tell you how good he is, he's going to show you. If you find him a bit brash, you might better get used to it, because he's not likely to be going anywhere. Patrick Reed is the real deal.