Master Class

By Neil Connolly, in Sport · 12-04-2018 15:06:00 · 0 Comments
Master Class

This year’s Masters had a little something for everybody, as well as treating the viewers to one of the most intriguing final rounds, for the last few years.

At the Academy I get asked who am I liking for the tournament, who would I have a flutter on. My normal response when it comes to the Masters is look for a past winner, they are the most likely to be able to cope with the unique atmosphere and pressure throughout the tournament, and especially on the back nine, final day.
So when we were sat tight with the final few holes ahead, one glance at the leader board really only confirmed my thoughts that coaches should stick to what they are good at, that being coaching. Although what Spieth was putting together really was capturing the imagination, turning at five under and then adding four more to the tally, leaving him an opportunity to post a score which would set the hearts racing.
Unfortunately a bogey on the last just left him a touch short of the mark. Rickie Fowler’s clutch birdie on the last gave Reid a target, he needed to par the last two to win. Very manageable and yet very easy to mess up. So when he left the five footer up the hill on the last, he showed why the media call him ‘Captain America’, he held his nerve and closed the deal.
Reed being called Captain America is a far shout from the names he has been called over the past five years. He has often been described as brash and arrogant; some have alluded to his College career, where at best he has been described as a loner, at the worst a thief or even a cheat. The brashness comes from his belief. When asked what did he see in his future, he believed he was a top five world player; this before any Ryder Cup or Major success. The press appeared to want a villain in the piece and Reed certainly seemed to fit the bill.

The unfairness is quite startling. If you were to ask any, and I do mean any quality young player, whether they believe that they can achieve, they will answer ‘yes’. Do they mean it, is another matter. Otherwise why put in all of the hard work and sacrifice if you don’t think that you can do it.
The tide of public opinion started to move in his favour when he took on Rory in the opening match of the Hazeltine Ryder cup singles. This was a match of the ages, finger wagging at each other, the “I can’t hear you!” being shouted by Rory but Reed winning on the last gained the respect of the wider golfing public as well as his peers. The kid can play and play hard when it matters. He has Rory’s number now too.
That opening singles win promoted him to the position of “Captain America”. Now holding the position of Number 11 in the World, perhaps the belief of being a World top five player is realistic. What should be remembered is when I was realising that the “bet on a past winner” was a mile away, it was then, whilst looking at the leaderboard, the pedigree of the players chasing him was apparent. All seven of the top seven in the world were on his heels and closing in. It almost seemed that when Spieth fell short, Fowler picked up the baton and tried to catch him. Yet he prevailed.
What now for Reed, well if winning a Ryder Cup singles match changes public opinion for the better, he now has a Green jacket and the respect of the top, top players in the world. Certainly there is a Ryder Cup in his future later on this year, who knows even a rematch between Reed and Rory is on the cards.
If he was confident then, he now knows he is a great player. This level of confidence will, you would imagine, only carry him to greater heights. Maybe more Majors to follow this year?
But as a footnote to the piece, spare a thought for Sergio. Tiger stole the pre-show story from Sergio and the only time ‘El Nino’ really got into the papers was by making a thirteen on fifteen. The Press are now calling him the ‘Water boy’. Time waits for no man.


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