March 11th, 2014
05:41 PM ET

Rising star Patrick Reed: Confident or too cocky?

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.

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Read: Five golfers to watch in 2014

Read: Can Tiger beat back problem before Masters?

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soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. rderrick

    Any pro golfer has the ability to win at any given tournament, likewise many have the ability to become top 5. Everyone of them should believe himself that good, and all deserve to think it. If he thus actually DOES it, then BRAVO. It may start a trend for more honest outspeaking, but if not, it will undoubtedly reinforce the more traditional: Do First, then talk about.

    March 11, 2014 at 6:01 pm | Reply
  2. Jimmy

    There was not an ounce of cockiness in this young man! Patrick is a man on a mission and his confidence is real and to be admired....Let's not downplay his accomplishment applaud him, promote him and foment his attitude so that more youg athletes realize that with perseverance and dedication the sky is the limit!

    March 11, 2014 at 7:51 pm | Reply
  3. deediegraphiti

    The reality is that in Golf any of the top 30-50 golfers believe they are top 5 guys. They have to. Golf is a sport of tremendous uncertainty and difficulty and you absolutely have to believe in yourself every single day to stand a chance in the field. Congrats to the kid for winning and doing well so far this year. Not to mention people now know his name. Should we rather focus on Tiger Woods not making the cut every week?

    March 11, 2014 at 8:40 pm | Reply
  4. Ttommy

    Good for him. If he can walk the walk, he has the right to talk the talk. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with self confidence. I'd rather hear this guy talk than those who have false humility. They downplay themselves in interviews and are then insufferably smug, cocky and arrogant in private.

    March 26, 2014 at 11:29 pm | Reply

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