Patrick Reed — the American 27-year-old golfer — has claimed the first major in his career at the legendary Augusta National in Georgia at the Masters 2018 tournament.
Up until Sunday night, the highlight of the Texas-born player’s career was participating in the Ryder Cup — giving him his nickname Captain America.
By winning the Masters he proved capable of keeping his cool as he defeated favourites Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy.
Meanwhile, golfing icon Tiger Woods made his return to a major tournament after a few years away from the green.
Former world number one Spieth almost made one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the Masters, while McIlroy came close to completing the career Grand Slam.
Woods’ return and McIlroy’s title race especially made television ratings hit a five-year high, with 3.9 million viewers on ESPN during the second round on Friday.
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As the gates close at Augusta National, what’s next for Reed?
Patrick Reed: Courting controversy
Despite graduating from Augusta University and having his family based in Georgia’s city, Reed is not a home favourite.
His infamously controversial relationship with his parents, as well as allegations of stealing, cheating and homophobic comments did not quite make him the most popular player in the tournament this year.
Yet, as he stood up to wear Augusta National’s iconic Green Jacket above his flashy pink t-shirt at the first hole, Reed did not seem to particularly mind the crowd’s disappointment.
His troubled past has made him one of the least favourite players in the industry but he still managed to gather exceptional fans, among which US President Donald Trump.
Congratulations to Patrick Reed on his great and courageous MASTERS win! When Patrick had his amazing win at Doral 5 years ago, people saw his great talent, and a bright future ahead. Now he is the Masters Champion!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 9, 2018
But technical skills clearly count more than popularity and the lack of support from fans does not seem to have bothered him.
At a press conference on Saturday night Reed said:
I don’t really care what people say on Twitter or what they say if they are cheering for me or not cheering for me. I’m out here to do my job, and that’s to play golf. I feel like if I’m doing it the right way, then that’s all that really matters.
What now? The Masters prize money and career prospects
Sunday’s victory could both be a once-in-a-lifetime event for Reed as much as a career-making breakthrough.
Aside from pocketing a mammoth $1,980,000 cash prize, the Texan will now get 100 Official World Golf Ranking points — becoming the world number 11 — as well as direct qualification to the next Masters.
The victory also means that Reed can participate in the US Open, Open Championship and PGA Championship for five years.
Winning a major always leads to fame and glory, but not all players manage to live up to the expectations it raises.
A good deal of golfers to have won a major then went on to have successful careers, including Tiger Woods, who too won his first major in Augusta, Jack Nicklaus, and Phil Nickleson.
But this was not the case for New Zealand’s Michael Campbell, who bagged his first and, so far, only major title in 2005 and failed to claim any other victory in the PGA Tour ever since.
Spaniard Sergio Garcia similarly managed to get the green jacket at Augusta in 2017 — the first major in his career — but made an early exit this year and collapsed from number 1 to number 9 in the world ranking following a poor performance.
Having achieved the first major in his career at the young age of 27, Reed will now have to prove to be more of a Tiger Woods than a Michael Campbell.