Patrick Reed’s victory at the WGC Cadillac Championship was validation for sure. Validation in his golfing talent, proof of his own inner-belief mechanism and justification of the long and endless amount of work required to succeed at the highest levels of the game.
The 23-year-old delivered the goods under an enormous spotlight in Florida on Sunday and he wasn’t shy about projecting his ambitions in public.
The Texan's post-round comments about seeing himself as a world top-five player can be misconstrued as arrogance, but they are also an indication of the strength in depth that is emerging among the Tiger generation and their bulletproof certainty about where they see themselves going in the game.
The only difficulty with embracing Patrick Reed is that he comes across a little too cocky.
This is a pity, because in this politically correct world, we are bombarded with false modesty. We have a problem with an athlete sounding too cocky.
Tiger Woods, even in his heyday, never came across as irritatingly smug. He had burst onto the scene in spectacular fashion and won the Masters, by a record margin, within seven months of turning professional.
Reed is a different proposition, but we should take note of his achievements. He is the youngest person to ever win a World Golf Championship tournament. He’s notched three wins on the PGA Tour in the last 14 events, lifting him to 20th in the world rankings.
At the Humana Challenge in January, he began with three rounds of 63 to blitz the field, and now he holds the Sarazen Cup as winner of the Cadillac Championship, held at a brutally tough Trump National, Doral.
He had Tiger Woods breathing down his neck with a round to go and he held tough for a wire-to-wire win against the strongest field in golf this year.
We’re not used to such outward displays of self-confidence, but he’s great for the game. A proper talent who is delivering the goods - and he has yet to play in a major!
Confidence. It is the X-factor that separates the champions from the also-rans. Confidence to play the game at the highest level and confidence in your ability to make it happen are an absolute must in the professional golfer's DNA in this day and age.
There is another confidence, which can often be misunderstood, and that is outward self-confidence. It can often be interpreted as boastful and superior. In some instances, it can come across as disrespectful. Regardless, if you don’t have inner belief, the world of professional sport can be an unforgiving place.
Reed was a standout amateur for Augusta State University, and they won two NCAA championships. He makes his debut at Augusta in April, and one suspects that he will talk openly of his intention to make an impression. He already has.