So Patrick Reed is our 2018 US Masters champ. His previous 3 days play allowed him the comfort of not having to do a helluva lot to win. In fairness though he made some clutch putts during the round to ensure the win – none more so than that tasty 3 footer on the last.
However in many ways the final day of the Masters was not a story about Reed but about Jordan Speith. What a performance!. 9 under par thru 17 and just that slightly errant tee shot on 18, that clipped a pine branch – costing him a bogey on the last.
It would have been interesting if Speith had got into the clubhouse on -14. At that stage Patrick Reed had a good 3 holes left to play on -15. It would have been fascinating to see if only having a 1 shot cushion with 3 to play would have made any difference to the amount of pressure he was under.
As it was Ricky Fowler did manage to get to -14 with a clutch putt on the last but at that stage Reed was already on the last tee having had a superb two putt on the 17th hole.
Rory Mcilroy never ceases to amaze me. Playing in the final group with Patrick Reed the day was set up for a shoot-out between the two of them. In the end they seemed to drag each other down and allow a number of the chasing pack to get close. Watching it there seemed to be a very subdued energy in the pairing.
For me the 2nd hole was a harbinger of things to come for Mcilroy. He hit a beautiful 2nd shot into the par 5 there – leaving him a 4 foot Eagle putt. Exquisite. No doubt it was a tricky downhiller. But here is the ugly truth – Speith would’ve holed it and so to would Fowler.
That was Mcilroy’s opportunity to ratchet up the pressure on Reed and eliminate his lead in just two holes. He didn’t and I felt even from that early stage that a little of his natural cockiness and exhubernce began to ebb away.
Watching Mcilroy in these kind of environment’s is a fascinating exercise. little by little as each makeable putt edged off or by the hole his confidence drained and it was visible. It was a day when his iron play was it’s usual perfection – so he needed his short game on point. Unfortunately for the Northern Irishman it wasn’t .This wasn’t a meltdown in the same way 2011 was but it will hurt almost as much i’ll bet.
Everybody seems to think Mcilroy will win this tournament at some point in the future. I sincerely hope that he does but with each near miss the task becomes a little bit harder i feel.