Reed went on to shoot an even-par 72 and complete a wire-to-wire victory to capture the Cadillac Championship at the newly-renovated Trump National Doral. At 23 years, 7 months and 4 days, he became the youngest winner of a World Golf Championship event, breaking the record Woods’ once held.
With a leaderboard heading into the final round that included Woods, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Hunter Mahan and Jason Dufner, Reed, who had already won twice on the PGA Tour in the last seven months, was up against the toughest test of his career. But, no big deal. Just ask him.
On the 18th green after he putted out, he proclaimed in his interview with NBC that he was one of the top five players in the world (which caused a storm on social media).
“I have a lot of confidence in my game,” said Reed. “It’s one of those things that you build confident by how hard you work, and you know, I feel like I’m one of the hardest workers out here and it definitely shows; I have three wins in 14 starts, especially in a field like this, to go wire-to-wire. It’s just one of those things that I feel like with how hard I’ve worked, I mean, I’m working my way up to become a top 5 player in the world. But the thing is, I just going to take a little time in the fact that I haven’t been on the PGA Tour for very long.”
Reed entered last week ranked no. 44 in the world, and with his win, he surged to no. 20 on Monday.
And again, he’s certainly not lacking in confidence, but he’s also got the resume now to back it up.
“I wouldn’t say I’m surprised about winning three times,” said Reed, who won the Wyndham Championship last August and the Humana Challenge in January.
“Now, if you were going to tell me two years ago that do you think you’re going to win three times in 14 starts and win a World Golf Championships where you’re going to lead wire-to-wire with Tiger Woods three shots back going into Sunday, I probably would have said, you know, odds are against me, but can I do it, maybe.
“To do what I did in the first time to beat Jordan Spieth in a playoff; the weather that week was we were fighting weather. So you had that obstacle, as well with all the rain delays. We were able to get over that.
“Then to do what I did at Humana, to shoot three 63s and be able to coast on Sunday; and then now here, where I had a twoshot lead over Dufner, Hunter Mahan and had Tiger Woods right behind them, it’s just one of those things that I feel like I’ve had every situation that I’ve had to deal with coming down the stretch.
“It’s one of those things that I’m just building experience and also building confidence that when I get in these kind of situations, I can close deals.”
Reed is now a perfect three-for-three when holding the 54-hole lead.
Oh, for the record, his Sunday outfit is indeed modeled after Woods.
Q. The red shirt, I know your previous two wins you wore a red shirt, do you always wear a red shirt in the final round?
PATRICK REED: I do.
Q. Why is that?
PATRICK REED: Well, the best player ever to live when I was growing up wore black pants, a red shirt. I was growing up watching him, I always thought, you know, it would be cool to wear black and red come down Sunday.
You know I did it when I was in juniors, I did it in amateur golf, and you know, it’s worked. Obviously there’s something behind it.
Q. Has he protested with patent infringement or has he said anything to you?
PATRICK REED: He hasn’t. It’s one of those things that I don’t think he really has any white or black in his shirts; he just has solid red and black pants. It’s one of those things that I’ve been comfortable wearing it and you know, obviously he’s been comfortable wearing it; just happens to be that we both wear it on Sunday now.
Speaking of whom, Tiger, the defending champion, shot a six-over 78 — his highest final round score of his PGA Tour career — to finish T25.
This week marks just the second time in 14 starts that Woods (T25) has failed to record a top-10 finish at the Cadillac Championship. In 2012, Woods withdrew from the event during the final round with an injury to his left leg.
Woods, who withdrew from the final round of the Honda Classic after 13 holes the week prior, was visibly in pain on Sunday. He said it was sparked by a shot from a fairway bunker on the 6th hole.
“It basically started on 6, the second shot out of the bunker, my foot was out of the bunker,” he said. “That’s what set it off and then it was done after that. Just see if I could actually manage through the — keep the spasms at bay. But anything in flexion was done, so the deeper the flexion, the worse it felt.”
Tiger said his swing felt fine with the driver, but it was difficult for him to feel comfortable standing over a putt.
“As I said, deeper the flexion, the worse it felt,” said Woods. “The driver felt line. As I said, the more flexion I had, the worse it felt.”
In other words, the more his body was tilted forward. So, what was he feeling?
“Well, it is back spasms, so we’ve done all the protocols and it’s just a matter of keeping everything aligned so I don’t go into that,” he said.
A day prior, Woods shot a six-under 66, which ended up tying for the low round of the week.
“As I said, if I feel good, I can actually make a pretty decent swing,” he said. “You saw it yesterday. I actually can make some good swings and shoot a good score, but if I’m feeling like this, it’s a little tough.”
He’s looking forward to having a week off before his next event.
“I mean, it was just one thing that set it off, and as I say, I had a quick turnaround from last week,” said Woods. “Normally, with things like this, you shut it down for a while and then get back up and get the strength and everything developed around it.
“So it will be nice to take this week off and get everything ready for Bay Hill.”
Meanwhile, Jamie Donaldson, a 38-year-old native of Wales, finished T2 to top his previous-best PGA Tour finish (T7 – 2012 PGA Championship) and World Golf Championships finish (T8-2014 HSBC Champions).
Donaldson earned 258 points on the FedExCup Season point’s list for non-members, moving him to 378 points. By surpassing the total number of FedExCup points of the player who finished No. 150 (278 points) on the 2013 point’s list, he is now eligible to accept Special Temporary Membership on the PGA Tour.
(Photo by Associated Press/Luis Alvarez)