Just before he tees off at 7:51 a.m. on No. 10 Thursday at Shinnecock Hills, Patrick Reed will have the pleasure of hearing himself introduced as the 2018 Masters champion and knowing he’s the only golfer in the world with a shot to win the elusive Grand Slam.
“To be able to come to the U.S. Open, especially after winning the last major, definitely gives me a little more confidence and gives me that self-belief as well as comfort level that whatever comes down Sunday, if we have a chance to win the golf tournament, I’ve done it before,” Reed said on Tuesday. “I’m able to build on those experiences and hopefully be able to apply them this week.”
It’s not that he feels like a changed man since winning the Masters. His first major victory simply validated all the work he has put in during a career in which he has won six times and earned a reputation as a pressure player for the U.S. Ryder Cup team.
“The feeling you get walking up No. 18 and making the putt on the last hole to win a major is unbelievable, and it’s a feeling you always want to get back to,” Reed said. “It’s just made me more hungry to work harder and try to succeed even more.”
The last player to win the first two majors in the same season was Jordan Spieth, who captured the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay following his Masters breakthrough. Reed has backed up his talk about building on his Masters success with more than a week of work at Shinnecock Hills.
He arrived in New York a week ago Sunday after the final round of the Memorial and has been here ever since. There was consideration of playing a practice round or two and then flying home to Houston, but Reed decided that it was better to stay on Long Island’s East End and fly his family in to meet him.
“I played in the member tournament on [June 4], and I played every day except for Saturday,” Reed said. “I’ve just been out here grinding, enjoying the area and having some fun.”
Reed considers the setup at Shinnecock to be a more traditional U.S. Open where par is a great score. “I got to this golf course, and it seemed like it brought everything out,” Reed said. “Even though it’s a long golf course, you have to be able to work the ball both ways, and you have to be able to flight the ball, depending on the wind. Any little detail of your golf game that’s not on is going to be exposed. I feel like it’s a complete golf course, and you just need to be sharp in all aspects.”