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Tiger Fades, Reed Soars at the Blue Monster
An uber-confident, uber-talented guy in a red shirt and black pants cruised to a Sunday victory in the WGC-Cadillac Championship against the most talented field that golf could muster. And it wasn't Tiger Woods, who was wearing the uniform but couldn't produce the results. Patrick Reed, a chubby-cheeked, baby-faced 23-year-old, appropriated Tiger's Sunday sartorial preference and posted Tiger-esque results, cruising to a fairly relaxed one-shot win and then expressing an utter lack of surprise at his success.
At Donald Trump's toughened, tricked-up Doral, Reed earned his third PGA Tour win and then matched the tournament host in hubris and blustery self-belief, putting himself among the game's elite in his post-round comments. "I’ve worked so hard,” said Reed, who proceeded to give a brief resume recital. “I’ve won a lot in my junior career, did great things in my amateur career, was 6-0 in match play at NCAAs, won NCAAs two years in a row, was third individually one year. Now I have three wins out here on the PGA Tour.
"I just don’t see a lot of guys that have (won three times before age 24), besides Tiger Woods of course, and all of the other legends of the game,” he said. “I believe in myself — especially after how hard I’ve worked — that I’m one of the top five players in the world. To come out of a field like this and to hold on wire to wire like that, I feel like I’ve proven myself."
Gotta love the kid's confidence. Let's see how he holds up next month when he tees it up at Augusta in the first major championship of his career. Something tells us he'll be ready for the moment.
Meanwhile, Woods couldn't capitalize on a third-round 66, fighting through more back pain on his way to a Sunday 78, his worst-ever score on a Sunday. A swing from an awkward stance set off the back spasms that forced his withdrawal from the Honda last week. "If it flares up, it flares up," he said. "It's just a matter of keeping it calm, and we had a quick turnaround here from last week. It would be nice to have a week off where I can shut it down and get some treatment." Woods will return to action March 20 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, where he's won seven times.
Here's a quick statistical summary of a weekend at Doral:
5 Reed becomes the fifth active player to earn his third PGA Tour win before his 24th birthday, joining Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Phil Mickelson.
25 Reed also becomes the youngest winner of a World Golf Championship event, eclipsing Tiger Woods' record by 25 days.
8 On Sunday, Woods had only the eighth birdie-free round out of 1,128 rounds in his professional career.
564 Reed has vaulted up 564 spots in the World Golf Ranking since the start of 2013. He began last season 584th; as of this morning, he's No. 20.
318 A tournament-record 318 balls found the water hazards sprinkled throughout the Doral layout during the four days of the Cadillac, crushing the old tournament record of 220 in 2004. A windy Friday produced a field scoring average of 76.