Published: Wed, April 11, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

McIlroy makes big statement on future despite Masters collapse

McIlroy makes big statement on future despite Masters collapse

Those Sunday cheers for the player from Northern Ireland, not Reed, "kind of fueled my fire a little bit", the victor said. The hiatus left him feeling nostalgic during his walk to the 18th green.

Reed shot a final-round 1-under 71 for a 15-under 273 total to win the 2018 Masters and earn his first major championship victory and sixth PGA TOUR title.

Woods, the 2019 US Presidents Cup captain and a 14-time major victor, backs Reed, tweeting of the new Masters champion: "Congrats @PReedGolf!" He looks you right in the eye, says yes or no right away and never backs away from a commitment. He did just that, rolling a 25-foot putt down the scary slope on the final green, then calmly sinking the putt to win. I just worry it is going to take a while. He closed with a 74 and tied for fifth. "You have to go catch him".

"Of course it's frustrating", McIlroy said. "I knew somebody was playing well". Life is too short for such divisiveness, and here is hoping all the Reeds can one day find a way to bridge the divide. And twice now it has eluded him from the final group on Sunday.

This is the 50th year on tour for The Heritage, which was first played in 1969, with Arnold Palmer claiming the inaugural event.

"It's going to be fun", he added.

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He can take some solace in making six birdies or better in the final round - almost as many as he made in the first three rounds combined.

"The best player ever to live when I was growing up wore black trousers, a red shirt", said Reed in 2014. After this, for sure, the young USA golfers McIlroy is competing against will not be intimidated the next time they play him on a Sunday here.

McIlroy never looked to trouble Reed as he struggled to set up birdie putts, and those that he did wouldn't drop. Unlike that showdown, where Reed was backed by a huge crowd chanting "USA, USA", McIlroy was the favorite among the final day crowd.

While Nike no longer makes golf clubs, Reed recently worked with some former Nike club builders who have formed a new company, Artisan Golf, and are working in Nike's former testing facility in Ft.

Reed, despite the heavy pressure, held firm following a spotty start to the day. "The fans, yes, were cheering for me, but some of them were cheering more for Rory". I hadn't been able to play in it, so now I'm glad I'm competing in this tournament.

He missed five putts from 10 feet or less on the front nine, most notably a four-footer for eagle at the par-five second that would have sent a roar around Augusta National and a shudder through his rivals. Reed's ability to hold it together, make clutch putts and bounce back from errors was impressive and indicative of a man capable of winning more major prizes in his career.

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Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler all applied the pressure but, with a first Major in the balance, Patrick Reed kept his nerve and beat them all. "I pushed myself pretty hard to get ready". Patrick and I didn't at all, just sort of grinding out there. "The rest of us just need two hours". And it wasn't quite what we both had in mind.

And it's now clear that McIlroy, too, is another to be fated to miss out on the tournament he wants the most. But it will likely damage his psyche. But he is a very accomplished player and he could yet win another Major or two.

Tiger Woods says he plans to take a three or four week break from golf after finishing tied for 32nd at the 2018 Masters Tournament.

His coach Kevin Kirk said, "I told him in Mexico that his golf game reminds me of when someone leaves an oven on in a house".

He was the first victor in eight years to be drawn in the morning on day one but he teed off late in the morning at 11:15 and he was one of only a few early starters to thrive on Thursday.

Before Sunday's final round, the US-based Golf Channel had described Reed as "the man many love to hate".

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He has become an even better player since then, under the guidance of Butch Harmon, and at times I thought this might be his year.

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