"All I asked him to do was keep his mouth shut and play golf and let his golf clubs do the talking for him", Augusta State coach Josh Gregory said.
Patrick Reed fought off furious back-nine challenges from Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler to record a one-shot victory at the U.S. Masters on Sunday, trading in his "Captain America" cap for a Green Jacket. One can only hope that it will come for him, like it came for Sergio Garcia, like it came for Phil Mickelson (people tend to forget that Lefty had been on tour for well over a decade before he landed the 2004 Masters).
"Honestly, I felt like a lot of that pressure was kind of lifted and kind of taken off of me", Reed said. He was eventually one shot clear of Fowler and two in front of 2015 champion Spieth, who conjured one of the all-time great Masters rounds (64) to thrust himself into third. After Spieth tied him, Reed made a birdie on the par-4 14th.
While he did not enter the final day as leader in 2018, he was just two shots adrift of leader Patrick Reed and was well positioned to emerge triumphant. Spieth, Rahm or Justin Thomas could have overtaken him by winning.
"Honestly, it doesn't really concern me", the 27-year-old golfer, who finished 15 under par for the tournament, told CNN Sport's Don Riddell. Woods almost aced the 240-yard, par-3 fourth.
It was Reed, who would handle the pressure for his first major win, not the Irish player with four major titles already in his display case.
Reed and McIlroy are forever linked to that singles match two years ago, which Reed won on the 18th hole.
Reed still had to go up the 18 in par to avoid a playoff with Fowler, and as he had done for most of the day, he got it done with a helicopter-style cut off the tee into the fairway, a short iron that hung up on the ledge above the hole, and two putts for the win.
The four-times victor on the PGA Tour has now finished in a share of fifth place or better in eight majors, with three of those second-place finishes. He made that for par to stay in control.
That nerve was needed right until the end, too, as Reed needed to avoid bogey at the last to prevent a playoff. For a minute, the talk of a comeback of historic proportions was real.
"We all believe Rory will win the grand slam, and I believe he can play this golf course, and I believe he will one day win on this golf course, but it doesn't mean he will". It detailed Reed's estrangement from his parents and younger sister, while also resurfacing allegations of cheating made by college teammates in Shane Ryan's book "Slaying the Tiger".
And at the 17th hole, his long birdie putt was in danger of hurtling way beyond the hole until it rammed into the back of the hole, breaking the ball's momentum and leaving him with a five-footer that he duly holed.
Tiger Woods was content with his Masters finish on Sunday, where a final round 69 would see him settle on one under for the tournament. "All in all, a bittersweet ending". I missed competing against these guys.
"I think 100% I can come back and win here", he said.
"I knew every shot coming down the stretch was important, so I'm obviously pretty gutted at the finish", Spieth said.