Each month, Team USA Awards presented by Dow celebrates the outstanding achievements of U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Golfer Patrick Reed won Male Athlete of the Month for April 2018, during which he won the 2018 Masters Tournament, marking his first victory at one of golf's prestigious major events. In Reed’s Diamond Club feature, presented by Dow, he shares the mindset that led to his win, his daughter's reaction and his future goals.
The unforgettable green jacket has been put away. The trophy has been shared with daughter Windsor Wells. But the memory of Augusta lives on for 2016 Olympian Patrick Reed.
After all, it has only been a month since Reed conquered golf’s holy grail with his first Masters victory. Autograph seekers are a constant reminder of his accomplishment.
“It’s definitely been different,” Reed said this week, preparing for Thursday’s start of the The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, Florida. “It’s been great, but people just notice you more when you’re out, whether you’re in golf clothes. I used to be able to go to restaurants in my normal golf clothes and people wouldn’t even come up or anything like that.
Patrick Reed celebrates with the trophy during the green jacket ceremony after winning the 2018 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 8, 2018 in Augusta, Ga.
“Now I show up in jeans and a tee shirt and an Astros hat, and all of a sudden everyone is coming up to you.”
Two days before he was to start play in The Players Championship, Reed was named Best of April winner in the male category for the Team USA Awards presented by Dow.
And as part of the four-man U.S. golf team at the Olympic Games Rio 2016, achieving the Team USA Award was a huge accomplishment.
“It’s such an honor to, one, just being able to represent your country and participate in the Olympics, and to actually go ahead and be recognized with all the other athletes in April, that’s awesome,” Reed said. “It’s a great honor and I can’t wait to celebrate with my wife.”
Reed joined women’s marathoner Desiree Linden, winner of the Boston Marathon, and Jamie Sinclair’s curling rink, which became the first American team to win a Grand Slam of Curling event, as Team USA Awards honorees in April.
The fact that Reed wanted to celebrate the Team USA honor with his wife, the former Justine Karain, should come as no surprise. She caddied for Patrick on the PGA Tour in 2012, 2013 and 2014. And then Justine’s brother, Kessler, took over Reed’s bag.
Known in golf circles as “Captain America” for his play in the Ryder Cup, Reed quickly celebrated his Masters victory on April 8 with daughter Windsor Wells. After the ceremonies following the tournament were held, Reed went to Butler Cabin, a landmark building on the Masters grounds, and there he was greeted by Windsor Wells and the rest of the family.
“She looks at me and says, ‘Congratulations, Daddy, I love you,’ and she came and gave me a hug,” Reed recalled. “And I was just like, ‘All right, I’m done. I’m toast. I’m done.’ That was the coolest feeling because when I went on a run earlier in the year … I was gone from the house for five weeks so I didn’t see the little one for five weeks, and that was the first time I had to do that, and that was really hard.”
In Florida, as at the Masters, Reed is reunited with Olympic teammates Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar and Bubba Watson. With a FedEx Cup fifth-place standing, Reed has been on a tear. Including the Masters, he has finished among the top 10 in his last six tournaments. He tied for second in the Valspar Championship.
But it is the back nine of the Masters he will be remembered for. Reed had nerves of steel as he maneuvered Augusta National’s final nine holes on championship Sunday, sinking two birdie putts and clinching his one-shot victory over Fowler with a putt for par on the 18th hole.
“There’s been so many guys that have gone into that back nine with a comfortable lead and have lost it because of making a large number here or there,” Reed said, “and I was able to plot myself around the golf course, and when I felt like I put myself in good position, could go out and capitalize by hitting a quality golf shot.”
The Masters was Reed’s first win in a major, and the 2016 Olympics was his first Olympics. So, what’s next?
“Go out there and just keep on getting myself in contention and trying to win some more majors and win more golf tournaments,” Reed said. “To fulfill everyone’s goals and dreams, the easiest way to do that is to work harder than everybody, but then the next thing is to win golf tournaments.”
One golfer who knows all about that is Tiger Woods. He has won the Masters four times, plus has 10 more wins at majors. His PGA Tour win count stands at 79.
“We have a great relationship,” Reed said. “The biggest thing that I’ve just learned from him is kind of go out there and do things your way, be yourself and work hard. You have to outwork everybody.”
Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is sports editor of the Cape Cod Times and a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.