Reed hit 3,000 putts in one Augusta National practice round in the week prior to the tournament
How Patrick Reed Prepared To Win The Masters
On Monday, Tiger Woods, Fred Couples and Justin Thomas went out to play the front nine at Augusta National. The trio had a combined five Masters titles and 16 majors between them.
Behind them was a major-less Patrick Reed, who followed them out on his own and took three hours to play Augusta’s first nine holes.
Reed, from the outside at least, appears to enjoy being on his own, away from the limelight. He’s not known as one of the most popular guys on Tour and has never employed a professional caddie in his pro career, instead enlisting the help of his wife and now his brother-in-law.
The Texan attended Augusta State Unversity and played the famed Masters course numerous times through the years. He had played in four Masters and completed 12 competitive rounds at Augusta National in that time – you would think he’d have known the course pretty well.
But the way he prepared for this year’s tournament was meticulous. He was leaving no stone unturned.
Just a few days before he followed Woods’ group in practice, Reed was out again on his own. He played holes 1, 2, 12 and 13 according to the PGA Tour’s Sean Martin, and walked with a local Augusta caddie to pick his brains on what were the best lines off the tee and where to find the flat putts on the green.
Reed hit around 30 shots on the day and, according to what his swing coach Kevin Kirk told the PGA Tour, he hit an astonishing 3000 (!) putts.
It paid off. He had just two 3-putts all week and led the field in average putts per hole, taking just 1.44. Jordan Spieth, who finished two back, had four 3-putts and Rickie Fowler, who was just one stroke back, had three 3-putts.
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The following day, Reed played the full 18 holes, again on his own, and spent a total of eight hours on the golf course. That’s preparation.
He’d spent 16 hours on the course practising for every single situation that could arise during Masters week before the tournament week had even begun.
For somebody who grew up idolising Tiger Woods, he puts in a comparable number of hours as the 14-time major winner.
Another interesting thing that he worked on with his coach Kevin Kirk was the ability to play a fade.
We saw him hit that sorn-off Arnold Palmer-esque fade swing a few times during the week and that was all pre-meditated.
With Reed being a right-to-left drawer and Augusta suiting that very shape, you’d have though he would have to just turn up and find fairway after fairway.
But no, Reed and Kirk were aware of where he’d struggled previously and they realised that the 27-year-old needed a left-to-right tee ball in his armoury, particularly for the par-5 8th and 15th holes.
(Reed played the 16 par-5s in -13 for the week, the second-best number ever recorded by a champion)
They worked on this and even went off-piste, forgetting what all the coaching manuals said and found the way that he could hit that fade, and the Arnie-esque follow through was the way.
It’s been a crazy few months for Reed who had his second child in December and then went through a process of changing his equipment entirely – check out his full ‘What’s in the bag?‘ to see just how many clubs he’s used on Tour already this season.
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. All you have to do is light a match.”
Perhaps that match has been lit and the fire won’t be burning out any time soon.
His performance coach Josh Gregory said of Reed’s short game, “I think those two (talking about Spieth and Reed) might have the two best short games in the world right now.”
Reed’s work ethic, his short game ability, his long game ability, his composure and big-game attitude are all world class.
He said after his 2014 WGC-Cadillac Championship victory in 2014 that he thought he was a world top-5 player, which he currently isn’t – he’s ranked 11th in the Official World Golf Ranking.
In fact, he’s never actually been higher than 7th in the world – although that will surely change if he keeps up this form.
One thing is for sure, the American was the best golfer at Augusta National last week and he’s got the better of Rory McIlroy in two high-pressure scenarios, at the Ryder Cup in 2016 and on Sunday.
Patrick Reed is here to stay, and it’s going to be interesting to see his journey now he can call himself a major champion.
And don’t forget he’s just 27 years old. There’s an awful lot more to come.