Known as Captain America for his play in international group tournaments, particularly the Ryder Cup, Patrick Reed’s victory was not as popular with the American patrons in attendance at Augusta as one might expect, especially considering Reed lead his college team, Augusta State, to two national championships. However, Reed’s college career was not without controversy; he joined Augusta State after being removed from the University of Georgia’s golf team following multiple infractions, including two alcohol related offenses and alleged incidences of cheating and theft. After joining Augusta State, Reed was nearly removed from his second collegiate golf team, saved only by a team vote, though he was suspended for two tournaments. Reed’s strained family life is also a sore point for many golf fans, with Reed baring his family from attending any PGA event in which he is entered, major or minor, despite the Reed family living in the Augusta area. Asked if his win was bittersweet without his family in attendance, Reed offered only a generic, “I’m just here to play golf and win golf tournaments.”
When Reed and McIlroy walked to the first tee on Sunday, the roars were audibly stronger for the European than the semi-local. Asked if the fan reaction had an baring on Reed’s game, his caddy (and brother-in-law,) Kessler Karain, claimed Reed didn’t really let the crowd get to him, though Karain did note the crowd’s assumed bias. When asked his opinion on whether Rory seemed to be the favored golfer of the pairing, Karain stated: “I definitely feel that way. But that’s okay, because sometimes that’s motivating, too.”
Regardless of the crowd’s preference, Patrick Reed dug in and delivered the round of golf necessary to add a Masters title to his resume, and a green jacket to his wardrobe. In 2015, a poll of PGA golfers conducted by ESPN to determine the most hated player on tour ranked Patrick Reed second behind only Bubba Watson. But the 2018 Masters tournament wasn’t a popularity contest, and on the final leaderboard, Patrick Reed finished second to no one.