The shot was another indication that the baked-out links of Carnoustie plays entirely different than the lushly manicured fairways of Augusta National, where Reed had his breakthrough win in April to claim the green jacket.
But it’s not like Reed believes he’s not prepared to win a second major and establish himself as one of the big threats in golf. He talked after his practice round about his wife and the team he has put together to do just that.
“I just know that we’re on the right path and what we’re doing is the right thing, and we just need to keep grinding and keep on going,” Reed said. “And hopefully add a claret jug and all the majors as well, and hopefully win the career Grand Slam at some point.”
Big goals, but Reed’s win at the Masters showed he is capable of accomplishing big things. No longer just a Ryder Cup hero for the U.S., Reed is now a major champion.
Along the way he’s acquired a firm belief about how to play in major tournaments.
“The biggest thing is I treat them like they’re normal events,” Reed said. “I’ve always kind of gone in majors, put too much pressure on myself, having to go play well, having to do this, having to make birdie here. And now I go in there and try to play golf and keep in the mindset of, hey, it’s just another day on the golf course. Let’s just go play. I’ve been able to stay in that mindset the past three, and I’ve played pretty well in all three of them.”
That’s an understatement, because a quick glance at Reed’s record shows he should be considered one of the favorites this week to hoist the claret jug. Reed finished tied for second at the PGA Championship last year, won the Masters in April and finished fourth last month at the U.S. Open.
And though he hasn’t had much success in four British Opens — missing the cut twice — he’s playing with the confidence of someone who knows how to win big tournaments. And he believes — just like the Scottish fan watching him on No. 16 — that he knows how to play a Carnoustie course where the ball can roll on the ground for a hundred yards or more.
“Just have fun with it and go out and play golf and see how far I can hit some of the irons off the tees into fairways,” Reed said. “And see if I can have fun and play creative golf because I think that’s what it’s going to take out here.”
Reed played his practice round Tuesday by himself, as he often does. Only a few fans bothered to watch, and he carried with him none of the trappings of a Masters champion.
The lack of attention is more because of Reed’s understated nature than anything else. But he got no boos, either, which might have been the case from fans remembering him shushing the crowd while trying to rally the U.S. team at the 2014 Ryder Cup in Scotland.
“You would have thought I would have come over here and have a lot of mixed reviews from people,” Reed said. “But they seemed to really get behind me because they saw the passion I have not only for the game but for my country and golf.”
It’s a passion born of a life playing golf, and a long time chasing his dream of playing on the PGA Tour. Now that Reed is secure in his status as a major champion, there’s a promise of even better things to come.
Who knows, a win here might even make fans forget what side he plays on in the Ryder Cup.